Things to keep in mind when hiring a contractor

As a contractor’s wife, I have figured out that there are many things that are misunderstood or flat out myths. Being a contractor isn’t as simple as some make it appear. My husband LOVES his business! It comes with good and bad. There are weeks that we lose money because there was a flaw and he fixed it. There are times we have lost money because we gave the homeowner too many changes. Here are a few things you need to understand…..

  1. Contractors DO run late or get behind! They are not trying to waste your time. Things come up in our world. A job that we thought was going to be a simple 10 minute fix may turn into 30 minutes. A two day job may take four. Until we actually get something taken apart we do not know if there is a hidden issue or a part that needs ordered.
  2. Sometimes the lowest bid is the best bid. So many believe that the lowest bid can’t possibly be the best route. Get references! We called around before we set our hourly price. We heard a few that were $75 an hour for one person and $25 for each additional with a 2 hour minimum! We choose to stay well below that at $30-$50 an hour for up to 3 people. Why? Charging an elderly person $150 to unclog a sink is just greedy. Will we be this low forever? No.. we know as we grow there will be overhead but we want to stay small community.
  3. Add ons change the price. Many seem surprised that the bill is slightly higher at the end. Any changes you make add time which is money. Depending on WHEN you change your mind, it could cost quite a bit.
  4. Listen to your contractor and research but for the love of God DO NOT use home improvement shows for ideas. There’s a reason those remodels are $80,000! We have watched many and cringe. Some of them are shiesty at best. We recently had a complete remodel. He kept wanting to go the cheapest material wise and would listen to the labor vs material issue. Sheetrock is more expensive but quicker labor wise than paneling and putting ceiling tile up. We tried to save him over $1000 and a better looking finish but he wasn’t having it.
  5. They are not all sharks. Yes, he may have told you it was simple fix. After tearing out the mess he may have found a bigger issue. Don’t just take their word, have them show you. It is always cheaper to fix it right the first time.
  6. Don’t be afraid to speak but don’t yell. There’s always a chance of oversights. No one is perfect. If you have an issue speak with your contractor calmly and more than likely they will fix it without a fuss. Call screaming and cussing… does not get you anywhere.
  7. Don’t go slamming contractors on social media. We all work together believe it or not. We do give each other jobs we are too busy for. We also warn each other of PITA homeowners.
  8. Brag about your contractor! Many contractors will either put you on their VIP list by giving you a discount or make you a priority in the line of jobs with no time crunch if you bring them more customers.

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