Hiring a home improvement contractor to remodel your bathroom or create an extra room above the garage might seem like a great idea, but what happens when a two-month job turns into a two-year ordeal? Surveys indicate that home improvement contractors take an average of 30% longer to do most jobs than what is originally agreed upon with the customer. For some people, this might not be a big issue, but if you like your privacy or if you need the work completed by a deadline, you might find yourself out of luck. Here are tips on how to get your home improvement contractor to finish the job quickly.
Interview Several Contractors
You might really like the first home improvement contractor you interview, but don’t hire him right away. Instead, get quotes from at least four other contractors and see how their prices and time lines vary. If the first contractor’s two-week deadline is shorter than the others by three weeks, then you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. Ask him why he is able to get the job finished quicker, and if he isn’t able to answer to your satisfaction, go with someone else. It’s always better to get a realistic time frame up front because the contractor is more likely to stick with it.
Stay Out of His Way
In some cases — though certainly not all — your home improvement contractor might be taking forever because you’re accidentally impeding the process. If you constantly interrupt with questions or breeze into the room “just to grab something”, the workers will be distracted and any mistakes will have to be repaired. You’re well-advised to stay in the house while your contractor is working, but if you must watch his progress, observe from afar. Save your questions until the end of the workday when everyone is cleaning up and getting ready to go home.
Ask About Other Projects
Home improvement contractors are notorious for over-booking because they get more money out of their time. If your contractor is only working on your house for two hours out of every day, there’s no way the project will be finished on time. Before you hire anyone, ask about current customers and the amount of time they can devote to your project every day. Insist that the contract include a time commitment of days rather than weeks, and that workers have scheduled breaks.
Hire a Contractor with a Project Manager
Many home improvement contractors hire project managers at a rate of about $1,200 per week. The project manager is assigned to your home for the duration of the project and will be responsible for overseeing the work of the crew. When the contractor has hired a project manager, he or she has an incentive to get the job done as quickly as possible. If the work flows over into an extra week, the contractor has to cough up another $1,200, which isn’t translated into the client’s bill.
Lay Out Deadlines
The best way in which you can get your home improvement contractor to finish the job quickly is to lay out deadlines from the very beginning. Site your reasons for having the project completed by a specific date and put that deadline in the contract. If the contractor isn’t amenable to this idea, you’re better off finding somebody else.
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