"If you think business and manners don’t mix, try talking with your mouth full.” - Diane Gottsman, Modern Manners & Etiquette Expert, Author, Media Resource

How To Effectively (and Politely) Work With a Home Contractor

June 23rd, 2017 by

Dear Diane,
My husband says I’m too pushy when it comes to working with our contractor and his employees who are doing multiple updates on my home. I admit I tend to ask questions and worry things are not getting done as efficiently or timely as I would like. I’m always nervous I am not getting the quality I am paying for. I want to be a good customer, but not come across as a pushover. Is there a middle ground?
Ashley N.

Contractor Etiquette

Dear Ashley,

Yes, but it sounds like you haven’t found it yet. The adage, “the customer is always right” is not always true. Especially when they have a reputation for offending the people you hire. The first step is to do your research before you allow anyone to work on, or inside, your home. Did you get references? Did you call them? Did you look online and check to see if there were any negative reviews. If not, next time you will. Once you establish a company is legitimate, and honest, you will feel confident with your decision to move forward.

Here are five tips to maintain a good working relationship with your contractor and their employees.

Establish Ground Rules

State your expectations up front and find out what your contractor needs from you. Will you be home when they are working on your house or will you leave for the day? Do they require a deposit or will you pay in full when the job is complete? What days and time do they plan on working? If they plan to start the job at 7:30 AM and you are still in your robe, it might create some awkward moments.

Keep Business Hours

If you hire a large company that advertises 24-hour service, feel free to call anytime. However, if you hire an independent contractor, they might only take calls between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Leave a message or send an email and wait for a response. If they take a while to respond, it may be because they are working on another job. They may also have family obligations and are not available to take your call.

Give Them Some Room

Make sure to keep the kids and pets out of the way. Your handy man doesn’t need to be babysitting while he’s working in your yard or in your home. Keep the little ones in another part of the house where they will be safe from construction hazards. You are responsible for their safety – never leave them unattended.

Trust the Expert

Don’t hover! You wouldn’t want someone constantly watching you work and asking incessant questions. When you hire someone with experience, you should trust them to do the job right. If you have serious concerns, set up a time to discuss it. In the end, they want happy customers, so open communication will be appreciated.

Leave Them a Good Review

Word of mouth and positive online feedback is beneficial. Don’t hesitate to share your satisfaction with others. And while you’re at it, let your contractor know you have appreciated their time, effort and positive work ethic. A little praise goes a long way toward keeping a relationship positive.

Best of luck,

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