Tips for Successful Communication With Your Contractor
Good communication is an essential part of any successful home remodel. With regular communication, contractors and homeowners keep the remodel operating on schedule while also preventing disputes.
Many homeowners and contractors struggle to maintain good communication. With so many moving parts and so many high-stakes decisions being made, homeowners and contractors can easily misunderstand one another or simply forget what’s been said. These tips can help you avoid miscommunications with your contractor.
Identify the Point of Contact
Communicating with multiple people can lead to misunderstandings or a breakdown in communication. Often, general contractors prefer that homeowners communicate with only one person on the job site.
Identify that one point of contact and keep your communication limited to that person. If that person isn’t on the job site and you find yourself needing to talk to someone about your project, call your point of contact directly. You can also let the other workers on your job site know that you need to speak with your point of contact, but avoid the temptation to get more in-depth.
Meet Face to Face in the Initial Consultation
Many contractors meet with their clients face to face during the initial consultation. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the project so the contractor can make a bid and give the homeowner a quote.
Be wary of contractors who feel they don’t need to discuss your remodel in person in order to give you a quote. Contractors who feel comfortable quoting an amount to a customer without meeting in person to discuss the project may not value communication very highly.
Bids from contractors who have not met with homeowners in person may also be inaccurate because miscommunications can easily occur if the contractor has not spoken with the homeowner directly. This can cause problems down the road.
Weigh Communication When Selecting a Contractor
When you’re choosing a contractor for your upcoming remodel, consider the communication style of each contractor and factor this in when making your final selection. You’ll be working closely with this person in the upcoming weeks.
If the contractor you choose is someone that you have trouble talking to, or if you find it difficult to express your ideas to your contractor, this could lead to problems once the project gets underway.
Hold Complex Conversations in Person
Conversations that are about complex ideas (like, say, moving the sink to make room for a hot tub) should be held in person. In-person conversations enable you to show as well as tell what you mean and want.
During the conversation, you’ll have the chance to read your contractor’s facial expressions and body language so you can more easily gauge whether or not you’re on the same page. You might have to come home from work to meet your contractor in person on the job site, but the tradeoffs will be well worth the inconvenience.
Get Changes in Writing
Most major remodels involve a contract. When you make a change to the contract, the contractor adds an addendum, called a change order, to the contract to record the change. A written record of changes helps ensure that you have effectively communicated your needs wants to your contractor.
If you’ve discussed changes with your contractor but have not gotten the change in writing, ask for an official change order to be written up. This way, you’ll know for sure that your contractor is aware you want these changes to be made.
Avoid Text Messages
Text messages lack all nuance and facial expression. Conversations that happen over text message can easily be misunderstood by one or both parties.
Unless you’re asking your contractor a very basic question with a simple yes-or-no answer, avoid text messages. If your contractor asks you a question over text message and the answer is complicated, call your contractor to give your answer. Do not write your contractor long paragraphs over text.
Reiterate Points Later
If you and your contractor have recently discussed a complex problem and have come to an agreement or consensus about the way the situation will be resolved, reiterate the points you made in your conversation later. This clarification helps ensure that you and your contractor both understood what was being said.
Keep a Conversation Log
Keep a written log of conversations and things you’ve said to your contractor. This way, you’ll be able to remember what you’ve said to your contractor and what your contractor said to you. This can come in handy later on if you want to follow up on previous conversations.
For more information about how you can communicate with your contractor effectively, contact a contractor with extensive experience and a reputation for good customer service. At Four Seasons Home Products, we’re always happy to answer homeowner questions about home remodels and communicating with contractors. For more information, contact us today.