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How to Get Along With Your Contractors

No matter how big or little your construction job may be, everything will go more smoothly if everyone gets along. Here are some quick tips for keeping the peace.

The most obvious tip is hiring the right contractor. Interview several contractors and check their state licensing, as well as the complaints filed against them. Doing your research before you sign a contract will go a long ways toward keeping your project on track and on budget.

Don't automatically take the lowest bid. You want to check references and be sure your chosen contractor provides quality work to prevent problems during the process. Saving every penny won't matter much when the roof leaks, the dust hasn't settled, and your contractor is on a beach in the Caribbean sipping a Pina Coloda.

Take into account whether you get along personally with the contractor. After all, these people are going to be using your bathroom and seeing your makeup run at the end of a long work day -- you want to like them.

Hammer out details in advance. Have an iron-clad contract, and if problems arise, don't wait to work them out. If you don't like the way the workers are tracking mud on your new carpet or feeding your dog cheese puffs on lunch break, speak to your contractor about it directly. Give him an opportunity to correct problems before they become serious.

Pony up the bucks when you're supposed to. Not paying your contractor on time is likely to irk him, and trust me, you don't want that. Stick to your agreements and he's much more likely to stick to his.

If your contractor's workers are doing a good job, show your appreciation. Make them some hot sandwiches, order a couple of pizzas or bring doughnuts one morning. No shame in a little bribery. How likely is it that someone would feast on your culinary masterpieces, and then screw up your stove install?

Be reasonable. If you change the color of the bathroom tile 22 times, I have news for you. Your contractor will NOT going to be happy. At all. Make sure you are tolerant of the noise, dust and inconvenience that go hand in hand with any construction or remodel project. As much as you might like to believe it, your contractor cannot be held responsible if it rains for a week solid and they can't paint.

And if you decide to plan a weekend soiree halfway into the job, and want the place clean -- it isn't going to happen. Insist on quality, but be realistic. It may take longer, cost a little more, and be a lot more aggravating then you ever dreamed. Try not to take it out on your contractor.

Keep these easy tips in mind whether you are embarking on a remodel or a new construction project. Getting along with your contractor could mean the difference between a finished project, and "back to the drawing board."

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and


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