Blog: Contractor Chatter

6 Ways to Get Your Home Renovation Done on Your Terms – Part 1

Can home improvements be done your way?

Home Renovation Pop Quiz. Which of these expectations would you want your contractor to meet?

  1. Your project finished with all the work you want done
  2. Your Schedule
  3. Your Quoted Price
  4. All of the above

Now I’m sure that if you’re going to invest any amount of money in your home, you’re going to want results.  Rightfully so, you shouldn’t settle for less than all of the above.  So the question is, ‘’how can you make sure you get your next project done while meeting your valid expectations?’’

How to get your project done on your terms

I’m going to give you six ways to help you protect your investment and more importantly, protect yourself.  This way you can have more control over the situation and lower the amount of emotional and financial stress you’ll have to deal with.  A recent survey found that over 48% of participants would not work with their last contractor again.  Obviously, there is a high probability that your service experience can go sour, so anyone in the market for a home renovation can use these tips.

Collect your thoughts

Of course, you want your project to turn out the way you envision it and you need to make sure your contractor will do the work you want them to do.  One way to get your home renovation off on the right foot is by creating a detailed to-do list.

To start your list, all who will play a part in any decision-making should sit down and think through the dream.  List everything you want that seems feasible to include.  Think about how you will use your space and try to picture what you want your space to look and feel like when it’s complete.  This reminds me of Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – habit two: begin with the end in mind.  If you start by thinking of your target, you will definitely be able to aim for it throughout your renovation.

Once your list is complete, it’s time to connect your ideas with photo examples.  You can create an idea folder compiling ideas which connect to your style. By cutting pictures out from magazines, searching the internet, or taking some photographs of the type of space you are looking for, you can give your contractor a good concept of what you’d like to achieve.  Houzz Idea Books provide a great way to do this online.  This is good because you can easily add or delete items as you develop your list of inclusions.

Your list and the scope of your home renovation

When meeting with prospective contractors all the information you came up with needs to be shared with them.  Then, during your meeting you need to let them know that you’d like to be provided a detailed Scope of Work (list of all the tasks associated with your project) along with a list of specifications (the ”specs”).  This is the second way you can ensure your project is done on your terms.  These lists can then be cross-checked against your original list to make sure everything discussed was included.  The specifications should list all your selections including:

  • Products
  • Materials
  • Fixtures
  • Appliances, and
  • Any other items to be installed.

Each item on this list can include a manufacture’s name, model or item number, dimensions, and even color specified.  Most importantly, as long as these two documents are incorporated by reference into your contract, you can be sure your contractor will be on the hook to provide the work you want accomplished exactly the way you envisioned it.


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