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How to Have a Great Relationship with Your Contractor

4/5/2011 5:01:50 PM

Tags:, working with building professionals, green building advice, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

In its most recent blog-off, asked building and design experts how homeowners could make professional contractors’ jobs easier, and their answers offer some valuable insights. Could knowing what professionals need make our renovation and building projects run more smoothly? Here’s what a few of them had to say.

“Customers need to realize that if they want to be treated like a good customer, they need to treat the ‘vendor’ as a professional. Statements like “I could do it myself” suggest the vendor or professional is only a laborer. Customers need to ask themselves, ‘Do I trust this professional?’ If so, then let them do the job they were hired to do.”

-- Greg Chick, DIY Plumbing Advice 

See the rest of Greg’s comment here. 


“Many clients do not realize that every construction project, no matter its size, has an ugly side. Regardless of advance preparation, these things unfortunately happen in our industry and as professional construction managers we have processes in place to help mitigate these sorts of things. However, when they do occur, we appreciate the client who understands that this ugly side of the industry is not uncommon and lets us deal with the issues in our own way. We put enough stress and pressure on ourselves to manage a perfectly smooth process, and a client who does not add additional pressure is always appreciated. We like the clients who gauge our success not on whether the ‘ugly’ side rears its head, but rather how we respond and handle the ‘ugliness.’”

--Kevin Costenaro, The Augusta Group:

See the rest of Kevin’s comment here.


“I believe, as experts in our field, it is not up to the client to make our job easier. In fact, it is more difficult than ever to win contracts due to the fact that many of the smaller companies have more time, due to less jobs, to invest with prospective clients to make it that much easier for client to do less. That means we have to be that much better at what we do throughout the selling process than our competitors.” 

Roone Unger, EXOVATIONS 

See the rest of Roone’s answer here. 


“The most important thing a customer can do for themselves and the contractor is to be aware of how you use your ‘complaint capital.’ Pestering a contractor with a never-ending stream of daily questions and petty gripes destroys the relationship and slows down the work. Have a predetermined meeting time, whether it’s 8 a.m. every morning or 3 p.m. on Thursdays, to sit down and evaluate how things are going. Discuss issues of concern at that time, in that setting, in a professional way.”

Steve Crossland, Crossland Team Realty 

See the rest of Steve’s comment here.  

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Katherina Audley
4/5/2012 11:10:38 PM
I've got another one, from Chris Spilly of American Home Renewal ( One of the worst things someone can say to a contractor is: " I have no budget." Your budget is a very important piece of the entire project.  Being truthful and upfront with your contractor defines the way we will proceed with the scope of the work. 

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