Surviving a Reno (or how not to piss off your contractors)

1. Figure out what you want the contractor to do, then give them the information up front. Obviously there may be one or two small things that will change but you should have a basic idea what it is you expect from your contractor at the onset, so they can give you a close estimate on price and time, and so they can plan other projects accordingly.

2. Hire people you TRUST and then trust them. If you have zero confidence in your contractor you are not going to be able to chill out and let them do their jobs. Contractors do not work well when they are feeling constantly watched like a hawk, or when you are underfoot “just checking” on every little detail of every little move they make. Hire someone you feel good about, and then let them do their work. They will do a better job, I promise.

3. Speaking of details: It isn’t finished until it’s finished! If you were drawing a picture or writing a story and someone was looking over your shoulder nit-picking every wrong line, or misplaced word on your first draft you would be more than a little annoyed and your confidence would start diminishing, right? It’s frustrating when you are not yet done a project and someone is in your face asking you if you are going to touch up this or make sure of that. As an artist, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone asks about a drawing I haven’t finished and then sit there telling me it doesn’t “look like” what I said it was or that it needs “more of this” or “less of that”. It isn’t finished! Sit back and leave the little piddly details alone. Unless you see a huge, glaring oversight- BACK OFF! Your contractor knows that there is an edge that should be rounded a bit more, or there are a couple little spots on the wall that need touching up. It gets done as a “finishing touch”. The term means that we go through and touch up any small imperfections BEFORE it is finished. Trust.

4. Don’t change your mind! Once you have hired the contractor and told them what they need to do, adding one or two small things is not a huge deal. When you add more work, or change your mind on colour/texture/size/shape etc. multiple times it messes with the entire process. Your contractor goes into a job with a plan of what needs to be done first, in what order, and what the timing of each part is. When you constantly add projects it messes up all of that timing. It pushes back every part of a project, not just the one part you think you are adding to. Oh, you need the trim painted the same colour as the wall? Say it at the beginning so we don’t waste hours cutting in around the doorways. You decided you aren’t going to need to rehang that plant after-all and need the hole filled? It should be mudded when everything else is so we don’t have to wait for the sanding to be done in order to finish painting that wall.. Seriously. Do some research before you start renos and make a plan so that your contractor can make their plan as well. Otherwise you are in for serious setbacks, and the cost will increase.

5. Finally: Get out of the house! You being there running around us is distracting. Also, it is stressful on you. Don’t watch. Don’t worry. Just go out and find something else to do. If you have never done renos on your own you won’t really know what is going on anyway, and will probably stress about every little thing (See above) and if you have done renos you will expect your contractors to do things exactly the way you do. The fact is, everyone has a way of doing the job that works for them. I know it is hard to leave your precious home in the hands of professionals, but you hired us for a reason. Remind yourself of that and let us do our thing. And hey, what better excuse to treat yourself to coffee with a friend, or a relaxing walk through the park?


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