BuyingDesignHome ImprovementsListingsReal EstateSalesTips&Tricks April 6, 2024

Getting a Contractor?

10 Tips for When You Have a Contractor

When you embark on a major home renovation project or remodel, finding a reliable contractor should be at the top of your list. It’s essential to gather recommendations, read reviews, and interview a few options to find the right person for the job. You also want to be clear about your plans for the home and your expectations. However, there are a few things your contractor doesn’t need to know.

Don’t Say This to Your Contractor

Open communication with your contractor is great when it comes to what you want to happen in your house. By all means, discuss the size of the closets, the countertop style, the cabinet dimensions, and which way to run the flooring. Be assertive and ask about pricing, expected deadlines, and where your money is going.

However, you don’t need to share everything. Some things are better left unsaid, like these 10 sentences you should never say to your contractor.

1. It Doesn’t Matter When It’s Finished.

If you tell a contractor that you’re not in a rush, it’s like telling a toddler they don’t have to eat their veggies. Your contractor will likely take it as an invitation to push your job back to finish another one first.

Reputable contractors often have full schedules, so if you want to work with them, get on it as soon as possible. Don’t make them think you can wait until they have time, because you may keep getting moved down the list.

2. What If I Buy the Materials?

It’s best to let your contractor handle buying the materials. When you source your own, they could potentially be damaged, the wrong size, or have other issues.

 Your contractor will make sure to get the correct materials and often get discounts that you won’t be privy to. Now, just because it’s best to leave this part to your contractor, it doesn’t mean they get to pick everything out — see the next step.

3. Do Whatever You Think Is Best.

Your contractor might be a professional, but they’re working on your house. You are the one who gets to choose floor tiles, backsplashes, where you want your closet, etc. Your contractor will offer input and guidance in various situations. When they do, certainly listen to their advice, as some of it has to do with codes and other logistical issues.

For these types of things, you may have little choice, like where to put a toilet or how large your shower can be. However, in most scenarios, it’s up to you, so be firm and stick to your decisions. Don’t let a contractor talk you out of something you want because it’s going to take them longer, etc.

4. I Know Somebody Who Can Help.

Contractors typically have a team of professionals they work with frequently, including those in the trades. In other words, your contractor likely already has an electrician, plumber, HVAC specialist, roofer, and other specialized professionals in their corner.

If you try to bring in your family friend or someone you know, even if they’re licensed and know their stuff, it might not work out in your favor. Their schedule may not sync well with the contractor, they could have different work styles, or there could be discrepancies with pay rates.

5. We Can Shake on It.

Always get a contract. Don’t agree to anything based on a handshake. A contract protects you and the contractor. It provides a written agreement that details exactly what the contractor will do and how much you will pay them.

It also should clarify the payment schedule, timelines, expectations, and what happens when these expectations are not met (by either party). A handshake is nice, and you both may be very honest, respectable people. But things happen, and a handshake won’t stand up very well in court.

6. Do You Offer a Full Pay Discount?

Do not try to get a discount by offering to pay in full before the job. While a contractor may be happy to offer you a lower price to get the full payment upfront, you hurt yourself. Now that they have all your money, they don’t have as much of an incentive to push through the job.

This isn’t to say every contractor is going to take your money and run. There are plenty of honest contractors out there who would still do the job. However, it could go a little slower than expected. And you do still run the risk of someone bailing on you with all of your cash instead of just a small deposit.

7. I’m not Bothering with Other Contractor’s Quotes.

Don’t tell a contractor that they’re your only quote. No matter what the reason, let them think you’re getting a few more quotes before you choose them for the job. If they think they’re your only option, it could influence their quote, timeline, and other factors.

8. Is It Okay to Pay You Next Time?

When anyone does any kind of work, they expect to be paid on time. Your contractor is no different. If they’re expecting payment from you on a certain day, it’s your responsibility to pay it. Failure to pay on time could ultimately end up going against your agreement and your contractor would have every right to walk away in the middle of the job.

9. The Weather Won’t Slow Things Down, Right?

When the weather is bad, your contractor may or may not be able to continue working. If you have a lot of interior work, rain or snow may not be an issue. However, the crew would need to pause exterior work.

But sometimes, bad weather can affect work that’s happening inside if the workers can’t get the necessary equipment to the house or shipping delays, etc. Remain reasonable and understand that weather delays could happen, and this should be included in the contract.

10. I Have This Much Money for the Project.

Do not tell a contractor how much money you have for a project when they come to give you an estimate. Let’s say you greatly overestimate how much a tub-to-shower conversion will cost. This job could cost you between $1,500 and $10,000, on average $3,000. But in your head, you think it’s going to be around $15,000 so that’s what you save.

The contractor comes to your home to quote the job, and when they arrive you tell them you only have $15,000 for the project. They measure, assess, and so on, then tell you, “What luck, it’s going to cost $15,000.” Or maybe they’ll come in at $14,500.

Instead, let them assess the situation and be the first one to give a number. You can discuss things in more detail from that point.


 In conclusion, effective communication with your contractor is crucial for a successful home renovation project. While it’s important to convey your preferences and expectations clearly, there are certain aspects that you may choose to keep to yourself. By avoiding certain statements and maintaining a professional relationship, you can ensure a smoother and more efficient construction process. Remember, clear communication, mutual respect, and adherence to contractual agreements are key to achieving the desired results for your home renovation.

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