Elements of a Great Contractor-Client Relationship

A great relationship with your general contractor is like any happy marriage. It’s a good idea to go into it with full transparency and clear expectations. Start with these two things, and you’re building the foundation of a successful client and contractor relationship! Also, everything starts with your dreams for the future. 

Here are four factors to consider carefully:

1) Design Plans: 

You can’t build or renovate – and have an idea of cost – if you don’t have an initial design plan. A contractor needs to know the scope of the project to provide an estimate. 

There are several ways to approach this:

  • You can hire an architect or professional designer to create an initial floor plan, then take it to a contractor for an estimate. (You could ask the architect or designer to recommend several contractors they know.)
  • Another option, and one that’s more likely with a renovation, is to identify a contractor first and then work with an architect or designer they recommend to create a plan. 

2) Specifications and Pricing: 

Several factors affect costs, among them are the general layout, interior architecture, finishes, and custom millwork, lighting, and electrical features. That sort of information can affect accurate pricing before you start construction. While every contractor has an overhead cost (their profit margin) for their labor, the project specs have a significant influence on final costs. 

Once you’ve received several estimates, you will want to compare them carefully. While most reputable and experienced contractors are likely to be similar in pricing, sometimes there can be big differences in costs between contractors. It’s critical to review the estimates in a way that compares apples to apples. 

Cheaper isn’t always better in the long run. A low-ball estimate could indicate a contractor who uses lower-quality materials, is uninsured, or employs lower or under-skilled workers. It could also mean he’s not investing in safety or industry trainings for his employees and investing back into his business. Any of these are red flags, and you should think twice before working with this contractor.

3) Timelines: 

Expectations and timelines for a project are an area where things can go awry during a renovation or home build. If adequately addressed beforehand, you can likely avoid disappointment. Keep in mind that unexpected issues often arise during construction. It’s important to discuss the contractor’s expected timeline and your expectations or needs before signing a contract.  

4) Transparency:

Any estimate you receive should be detailed, explaining the scope of the work to be completed and all costs in great detail. There should be full transparency to avoid hidden costs. For example, most reputable contractors will write into the contract the brands they will use. They will include the cost of materials and their process for any change orders that could affect the original price. If there’s no obvious transparency in your initial discussions and the contract, that’s a red flag. 

Keep these four factors in mind when you’re talking to a contractor about your project. They will help you have a smoother experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.