With large renovation or building projects in the pipeline, while you may have done thorough research, checked ample references and found yourself a good contractor with a reliable reputation, there are a few things you would still need to keep in mind. Contractors, in most cases, are pretty open about any constraints that they may face with the job, but sometimes, a little insight into what the job really entails will leave nothing to chance and there'll be no loss in translation.
Every contractor wants to get that job finalised and signed, and for that, they will make a number of promises and commit to several ‘extras’ thrown in at no apparent extra cost. But before you take the plunge and sign the papers, you should know about these 5 secrets that no contractor ever tells you upfront.
1. It is highly unlikely he will be available all day long
Most successful contractors work with a large crew and often divide the crew between sites. No contractor can survive in this cut-throat business if he has only one project going on at a time. So, don’t be fooled into believing that your contractor will be standing on your site all day long. At most, he might show up once a day just to "check on things". Make sure you also meet the team before you make the commitment to hire them.
2. He desperately needs your job
As mentioned above, most contractors are desperate to close contracts and to sign on new clients. Then it's quickly on to managing the budgets and scheduling a cast of subcontractors. Compare all bids carefully. If a contractor has made too many ‘extra’ promises, ask him to detail out how he plans to go about completing the job without exceeding the budget. You don’t want to hire someone who has made empty promises just to get you to sign the contract and then end up doing a sub-standard job. Negotiate hard; he is desperate for your job and will agree to your terms eventually.
3. He will outsource parts of your job
Contractors might have a crew of building labourers, but they don’t often hire carpenters, electricians and plumbers as a part of their permanent crew. They work with these sub-contractors on various projects and will choose anyone readily available. They may not be the best persons for your particular project, as the contractor may hire someone with the lowest bid. When your general contractor comes to the stage where other experts are needed, make sure that he hires all other professional only after consulting with you.
4. He is not a design pro
Has your contractor assured you that he can design a crockery cabinet? Don’t believe him blindly. While many contractors would have learned a few design tricks on the job, most of them cannot replace designers. Depending on the complexity of your project, you may need a number of skilled professionals to get the job done. So don’t count on a contractor to design your space and add clever details, unless he clearly demonstrates his abilities and has a portfolio of his own work.
5. He is making a huge profit on this deal
Contractors don’t just mark up labour costs; they also mark up material costs. It’s how he pays his own overhead and salary. If you have the time and resources, it may be best to source your own materials. Ask the contractor to take things like plumbing fixtures, cabinets, countertops, hardware like handles and knobs, lighting fixtures, wall tiles and flooring out of his bid, since you may want to choose them personally.
Keep these points in mind and you should be good to go with your next big project.