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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Bargen

8 key tips for building a strong relationship with your renovation contractor.

Updated: Jan 5, 2019

A renovator's perspective on proper homeowner etiquette during renovations.

Having a strong relationship with your renovation expert will reduce the stress of your renovations. Follow these 8 tips for a fulfilling home renovation experience!



Communication, the most crucial aspect of any relationship is also paramount in homeowner - contractor relationships. Honest communication will be the foundation on which you can build trust. This is a two-way street. It is essential that you choose a renovator for your project that works hard to communicate with you as well.


Respect your contractors time. Showing appreciation for the time that your renovation expert takes to consult and quote your project and will go far in establishing a symbiotic relationship. Pursue quotes only from contractors that you have done research on, or that have been recommended. This will increase your confidence when dealing with your potential renovator, and they will feel that their time is valued. Keeping the project scope consistent during the quoting stage is another excellent way to gain the respect of your home renovation pro. Quality bids for your renovation can cost your contractor several hundred dollars or more, and additional revisions can increase the bid cost further. When your renovator feels respected, they will be much more willing to go the extra mile.



Trust. Working with a trustworthy renovation contractor is essential. Likewise your renovation professional will appreciate being able to trust you. Selecting professionals with good reputations is an excellent start to building trust. Renovations can be a stressful time. Establishing trust with your renovation contractor early and refraining from micromanaging will alleviate this stress. Another way to build confidence is to reward the renovation project to the contractor who has provided the best design. It is a breach of trust and theft when you use a contractor's thought out quotation as a blueprint for a different, cheaper contractor.


Be available.

During your renovation, it is inevitable that there will be numerous small decisions that need to be made that were not covered in the detailed quote. By being available to make these calls you are able to tailor these details to your design. There also may be times when unforeseeable issues arise that interfere with the plan outlined in the quote. For the project to progress, you and your renovator will need to make decisions that may affect the scope and cost of the project.



Be consistent. After the planning stage is complete and you have approved a quote for your home reno, it is helpful to both parties for you to be consistent. Changes after the fact reduce efficiency and will increase the price tag on your home renovations. These type of changes can be avoided by thorough planning with your renovation expert. Request an in-depth, itemized quote that includes the timeline, materials, and design plus applicable drawings for your renovations. These details will give you confidence in what you are agreeing to; aiding you in being consistent. If changes must happen, sometimes due to unforeseen snags, it is important to remember that this may put gaps in the timeline of your reno as your contractor likely has other scheduled commitments.


Be flexible and realistic. During your renovations, there is a good chance that something unforeseeable will come up that will throw a wrench into the renovation plans. Depending on the severity, it may require only a minor change to the quotation (change order), or it may send you and your renovator back to the drawing board. Work together with your renovation contractor and explore all your options. This could be as drastic as reconsidering the renovation or changing the focus of the upgrades. It also could be as simple as adding additional wall framing for proper drywall support. Being realistic and flexible at this point will ensure the best outcome considering the situation. Another aspect is being realistic with the cost of your project. Most renovators will give you a fair quoted price based on the foreseeable cost to them. Pay close attention to the quote details as they are likely a major cause in price variations. Being wary of renovation companies that are offering significant discounts on a vague quote will also save you major headaches.



Payment. When agreeing to a contract with your renovator, it should include payment terms. With large renovations, it will be likely that you will be progress billed for the materials acquired and work completed. For this reason, it is essential to request upfront pricing for your project. This will let you see if your dream renovation fits in your current budget or if you need to complete it in stages. During your renovations, your contractor will incur many costs. Paying on time will be appreciated and allow your contractor to pay employees and suppliers on time. Also, avoid contractors that offer cash deals. Remember, if your contractor is willing to cheat on his taxes, who else is he willing to cheat?


Get it in Writing! One of the most effective ways for maintaining a good relationship with your renovator is to have a written contract made up before commencing work. No matter how highly rated or how well you know the renovation contractor, your written agreement or quote will help resolve any conflict and keep the relationship on solid ground.


Contributions made by Chris from Dirtwright. A local Red Deer concrete and landscaping company.

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