Ready to hire a general contractor and get your home improvement project up off the ground? First, we’re going to let you in on some secrets. This guide contains 10 things that will drive your general contractor crazy and, ultimately, will result in your project hitting speed bumps, taking longer than expected, and costing more money.

Help Us Help You!

Use this guide to go inside the mind of your general contractor and garner some insight into ways you can help them help you be sure your project runs as smoothly as possible! We’re speaking from the perspective of the general contractor or home builder here, but all of these points can just as easily be applied to your architect or interior designer as well. You’ll likely notice some common threads throughout — namely points pertaining to communication and financial matters and ways to resolve specific instances.

things that drive your contractor crazy: indecision

10. Indecision

When a client/designer changes their mind often or taking a long time to make simple decisions. I.E – location of a light switch can be moved easily when the walls are open but once the drywall is up, it’s a more expensive and lengthy procedure – figure it out ahead of time. Also, keep things in proportion, the location of the spice rack should not take 3 weeks to decide on. These things slow the momentum of the job and cost money that adds up and then you wonder where did all my money go?

9. Not Knowing Your Budget + Having Unrealistic Budgetary Expectations

I can build the same cabinet in 10 different ways, how much do you want to spend? How much can you spend? Did you account for contingency?

In construction things can be done in many different levels and finish, you should know how much you want to spend.

  • Similarly, Paying late and asking why the job is going slow

The best way to show your contractor you appreciate their work is by paying on time. Not surprisingly, that is also the best way to assure you project is at the front of the line.

  • Pinching pennies in the wrong places

Saving $1/SQFT on tile when you have 500 SQFT is nice but saving that same buck on 6000 SQFT hardwood floors is more important.

too many phone calls

8. Communication Issues: Lack of It or an Abundance of it with After Hours Calls

We know you work during the day and call us during the night. Our working hours are the same as yours. We work during the day and have personal lives after work. Setting communications standards at the beginning of the job will prevent frustrations later on.

7. Purchasing Materials On Your Own

Not a big problem if you know what you are doing however, what are the chances that a ER nurse would know about the amount of BTU required from her ECO fireplace? Or if the shower valve has 3 different pieces?

It’s better to have a professional do that work. Weather your contractor, designer or a Ferguson rep, as long as it is a professional (and that means that they get paid for it, and that’s okay too)

6. Micro-Managing the Project

Just because you live in a house it doesn’t you know everything about it. You shouldn’t  tell the HVAC guy where the thermostat should go (unless asked). We encourage input, not directions, we get that from the designer.

Home Construction Site

5. Taking Too Long at a Job Site Meeting

Goes without saying, if I’m at meetings all day, how can I supervise and direct the work?! Keeping meetings short and sweet is imperative!

4. Adding to Work Scope & Thinking it’s Free!

Any additional wire that has to go where it is not, any piece of 2×4 that has to be relocated and generally anything that would require work, is costing someone money. Unless specifically told, additional work would be por gratis (free of charge/gift/”on me”) know that there would be a price. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

3. Performing Part of the Jobs with Your Own People/Subs

If you want your friend to paint your remodel project, have him/her work under your GC. When things go wrong, it is a lot easier to deal with one person and your friend…? He might not be when  you are done.

half painted

2. Scrutinizing Trades Before they are Finished

Have you ever seen an artist’s work in mid way? It is not as pretty as the final product. Construction is not different, there are many stages and until it is all done it would look… well, unfinished!

1. Improper Phone/Meeting Etiquette

This one may come across as kind of picky (it is, sorry!), But I;m including a few anecdotes from personal experience that can lead to communication issues and hang ups in your project along the way:

  • Talking to your contractor while your baby is crying

If baby crying annoys you, it annoys other people too. Call when you can talk with respect to the other party too.

  • Arguing with Your Spouse About Unrelated Topics in Front of Your Designers & Builders

Keep private arguments (even construction related) away from a professional environment. It can be awkward at best or even embarrassing or offensive.