Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship

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Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship

Beginning with the first meeting at your home, you want to build a strong Client-Contractor Relationship.  Remodeling Contractors are crucial allies as you remodel your home.  Remodeling a bathroom, kitchen, or full interior requires the ability to manage thousands of moving pieces and lots of trades.  To successfully accomplish requires an experienced professional General Contractor.  This professional has decades of knowledge on the ever-evolving multitude of materials, tools, systems, and building codes. 

Building and maintaining a strong Client-Contractor relationship is a must.  This will ensure you, your Contractor, and your project will enjoy a happy, durable, and high-quality experience.

How do You Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship?

There are three critical items to build a strong Client-Contractor relationship.  These are communication, honesty, and high moral character.

Communication

Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship

The Client and Contractor must talk regularly.  Not by email, text, or phone – in person.  Nothing compares to regular face-to-face meetings to ask questions and discuss concerns.  These in person meetings build trust, confidence, and friendship.  The best relationships are where there is mutual respect and recognition for each side’s talents.  The first thing to remember is when a Client and Contractor truly listen to each other and seek genuine collaboration, everything goes much smoother.  Your projects success depends on great communication.  Typically, in these relationships, the Client and Contractor form deep friendships and spend a lifetime working together.  It simply does not get any better than this.

If you have a question or are unsure of anything, ask the Contractor promptly.  Do not wait or think you will look stupid.  Holding on to questions will build resentment and mistrust.  Not bringing your questions to your Contractor in a timely manner guarantees a doomed relationship.  Hatred and fear will take over.  Every day until the job is completed will become ever more painful and combative.  Ask your questions promptly!  Be honest, courteous, and polite!

Honesty

Build a Strong Client-Contractor RelationshipHonesty must be a two-way street.  Embellishment, gamesmanship, and personal gain must not enter the Client-Contractor relationship.  Both sides must believe in each other and accept information and answers as truth.  Never lie or cheat.  No Client-Contractor relationship will survive lying or cheating.  Always communicate promptly any surprises – bad news does not get better with time.  If you experience a car repair that will make the next progress payment difficult, tell the Contractor immediately.  Arrangements can usually be made to accommodate these situations.  In similar fashion, Change Orders should be presented to the Client as soon as possible.  Change Orders should not be held until the end of the job.

High Moral Character

Build a Strong Client-Contractor RelationshipTo build a strong Client-Contractor relationship, both sides must be people of strong morals, character, and ethics.  The relationship cannot be an “us versus them” proposition.  It must never be about getting as much as you can from each other.  The Client and Contractor are human beings.  Both deserve respect, compassion, and benefit of the doubt.  This last one, benefit of the doubt, is the tricky one.  If your Contractor calls and says he or she is sick and can’t work, give them the benefit of the doubt.  Life happens.  It might be your child who is sick next time, and you will need to ask your Contractor not to work for a few days.  Never forget:  What goes around comes around. 

What Are Some Other Things I can Do to Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship?

To build a strong Client-Contractor relationship, understand that Contractors have their own team.  They do not like Change Orders.  Contractors will not negotiate their fees.

Working with the people they know and trust.

Contractors TeamContractors would rather not work with your people.  You may have a favorite electrician or family plumber; however, your Contractor has no idea who these people are.  Your Contractor has a vast network of established go-to people and blacklisted people.  He knows who the best and worst people are.  The people he works with are trusted and they all know what the Contractors expectations are.  Every person that works with your Contractor has been thoroughly vetted and tested.  Your Contractor is responsible for every person that works on the project.  It’s his license, insurance, and livelihood that’s on the line.  Let the Contractor pick his own team.

Change Orders

Change Orders Should Not Be FearedSome Clients are convinced all Contractors use Change Orders to jack up the price after the project is started.  This is true for some unsavory Contractors.  It does not; however, represent everyone.  Change Orders can be disruptive, costly, and slow things down.  Most Contractors do not want or like Change Orders.  Contractors would love to itemize every conceivable issue.  Unfortunately, that’s simply not possible.  Nobody can see through drywall to determine if there is wiring, pipes, or a crumbly wall behind it.  Do not fear Change Orders.  They are a normal part of every remodel.  For more information, read the article Change Orders.

Contractor Fees

Contractor FeesOverhead and profit fees are not negotiable.  Should you try to bargain down these fees?  Absolutely not!  These fees are what allows your Contractor to run their business.  The fees pay for trucks, gas, vehicle maintenance, tools, insurances, cell phones, computers, software, office rent and utilities, etc.

Contractors are you biggest advocate in saving money.  If you need to lower the price, work with your Contractor.  They will know where you can pare costs down.  They cannot lower their fees.  Suggesting, negotiating, or insisting that your Contractor lower his fees will destroy any chance of a strong Client-Contractor relationship developing.

Anything Else I Can Do to Build a Strong Client-Contractor Relationship?

What is a Owner/Builder?Do not let questions, concerns, or misunderstandings turn into resentment.  Resentment will fester and turn into lawsuits.  Lawsuits help no one.  Never let anything get to this point.  If Clients and Contractors are civil, courteous, and respectful of each other, a relationship will never come to this.  Consider a lawsuit like a divorce.  Nobody wants to endure the agonizing long-term pain, expense, and emotional damage of a divorce.  In a divorce, nobody ever truly wins – everyone suffers greatly.

Be nice to each other and communicate regularly in person.  Recognize that everyone has bad days.  Be honest and always give the benefit of the doubt.

Lastly, be truthful with each other.  Truth can be hard for some people – but it will always bring the most success.  It requires communication, honesty, and high moral character.  Remember these from the beginning of this article?  Today, truth can be very hard to recognize, even when it’s sitting right in front of you.  Why is this?

Today, it seems we are surrounded, even bombarded, by those who take great liberties with truth.  Embellishment and wordsmithing can confuse even the most ardent person. If something must be said, say it tactfully, respectfully, honestly, and directly.  The truth, no matter how bad, is never as dangerous as a lie in the long run.

How Can I Receive More Information?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at dan@dadsconstruction.com for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction.  DAD’s is a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation Contractor.  See https://www.dadsconstruction.com.  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.