How do you avoid the problem of your contractor charging you more for your project without running it by you first?
Your contractor shows up to your house and starts your project by removing drywall, patching, painting, and cleanup. In the process, you bake some very delicious chocolate chip cookies because you like him so much for doing your job.
Then you get hit with an extra $600 invoice over the discussed project contract price.
Does this sound familiar?
It happens all the time. It could be on a $150 repair or a $500,000 building. Whether you are building your first business building project or getting drywall repair at your residence, there should be a clear description in writing to define expectations. If there is an agreement in writing to situation A, then situation B comes along, a new meeting should take place to discuss the change in cost implications.
Whether you are in a commercial construction project or building your own home, this rule must be followed to avoid confusion and frustration in the future. The construction business brings along many variables that are not easily understood (unforeseen, behind walls) scopes of work, so it helps significantly to have a written agreement that describes what happens when an issue arrives. If you have this agreement and language in your contract, then you can ensure that any extra work does not constitute additional payment. In this method of doing business, you will save yourself a lot of stress and money.
How To Properly Hire A Contractor
When hiring a contractor to perform any work, you need to be upfront. Ask the contractor if there are any potential cases where a change order may arrive. This way, you can discuss the possibilities up front while being provided possible cost additions which will aid in making decisions of how much you are willing to spend on said item. Sometimes, a repair will be a necessity even if it’s costly, but a good contractor will alert you of those possibilities upfront with options of how to proceed when it happens.
The bottom line is to have the tough conversations upfront and understand how to manage expectations so each side knows what to expect. In the case of an inexperienced contractor, there may be a lack of knowledge or poor craftsmanship, leading to those expectations being incorrect from the start. When you have some vetting process of your contractor, you will then uncover what to expect. You need to always ask better questions, period. If you ask the right questions of what is expected, you will either receive well-thought-out answers or inadequate responses. Based on this conversation, you will be able to choose a contractor more wisely.
Which questions should you be asking your contractor?
Do some research on the topic that you are trying to get repaired or even the brand new commercial project you are building. Research online, search YouTube, call friends that have built, or consult your trusted contractor. Many times, if you have simple questions or need advice, contractors are willing to help even if they don’t get the work because they know you will send referrals in the future.
It only takes one bad experience to learn this lesson. Have the tough conversations upfront, ask better questions, get agreements in writing, and enjoy smoother projects.