The relationship between client and contractor is often compared with marriage and for good reason. Together, you are undertaking a complex and transformative experience—i.e., remodeling a home—that is wrought with highs and lows.
During this experience, it’s normal to have a range of emotions at one point or another, from excitement to frustration and anxiety. The same goes for your remodeling contractor. They not only have to handle the many logistics and complexities of redoing your home in Northern Virginia but also assume the burden of your expectations in terms of budget, timeline and quality. As within a marriage, or any other significant relationship, you have to be conscientious about how you treat your contractor to foster a positive home remodeling experience for you both.
The design phase of a home remodel in Northern Virginia can be challenging and stressful in some ways, but inviting the contractor and their crew into your home and letting it become a worksite day after day, for months on end, is often more nerve-wracking. This is when you especially need to use proper etiquette to cultivate a good working relationship with your contractor.
Here are a few dos and don’ts regarding your selection and treatment of your home remodeler that can help:
There is a lot to look for when vetting general contractors in Northern Virginia for your upcoming home improvement project. You may have requirements about the depth and breadth of their experience, qualifications, certifications and more. Above all that, you can’t underestimate the importance of hiring a remodeling contractor that you trust. A good contractor, in that regard, is someone you can rely on to stay on schedule and give their best work throughout the duration of the project. They also will be around your family and your belongings. Additionally, you should trust them enough that you can communicate open and honestly when you need to.
Get your project off on the right foot by preparing the worksite for your remodeling team. They will do what they can to protect any elements within the room that aren’t getting changed, as well as covering air vents and handling other site preparation. You can help by removing your personal belongings from the space and clearing a path through your house to the room or rooms being renovated. Your team shouldn’t have to find their way around obstacles or worry about tripping or breaking anything fragile.
Another way to build a positive relationship with your contractor is to prevent dogs and young children—or really any household members—from entering the worksite, especially while the crew is there. It can be frustrating for your contractor if they are put in a position where they must shoo away pets or watch out for little humans. If you decide to stay in your home during the remodel, then it may happen occasionally by accident, because these are autonomous beings who don’t always do what’s expected. However, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
This is your home. It’s natural to want to check in on the remodel once or twice a week, especially if you have questions. Your contractor would rather have clear, direct communication with you than deal with potential legal disputes or lingering resentment. If you have an issue or something you’re unhappy with, be up front about it. You can be forthright and honest while still being polite. What can be frustrating to a contractor is when clients do things like putting up a bunch of sticky notes around the worksite, pointing out flaws before the renovation is complete. Be respectful and straightforward, giving them the opportunity to clear up your confusion or address your concerns. Additionally, don’t hover. Keep your visits short and let the crew do their work.
By the time your remodeling team breaks ground at your home in Northern Virginia, you will have agreed to a plan. This plan is the basis for developing construction drawings, ordering materials, putting together a renovation schedule, and pulling permits, and reliable general contractors take pride in doing what they say they’re going to on time and on budget. When you ask for revisions once construction has started, you throw all that off. Now, if there is a particular change that could affect your comfort and happiness for years to come, it's better to make it now than wait until the project is complete. But in general, you should avoid post-design change orders. Too many can quickly become a costly nuisance that makes it difficult to maintain a good working relationship with your contractor.
There are several ways to show appreciation for your remodeling team and build rapport. One of the best ways to show appreciation for your contractor is to give them a positive review or referral. This helps your remodeler understand what works and how they can make improvements to better serve you. Constructive feedback ensures your remodeling process can continue running as smoothly as possible. Also, a simple "thank you" can go a long way!
Having a positive home remodeling experience begins by hiring a contractor with whom you’re compatible. Take your time researching the best remodeling companies in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and wait until you find a professional you can trust. From there, it’s mostly a matter of open communication, considerate behavior, and some common remodeling etiquette. And you can expect the same when you work with a qualified contractor. At Denny + Gardner, we’re happy to oversee your remodeling project and contribute what we can to a rich and rewarding working relationship. Whether you have your own architect or require our design services, our renovation services and expertise streamline the process and contribute to creating a positive experience for everyone involved.