Top 10 ways to annoy your contractor

What not to do when working with a contractor

By Allan Britnell

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Be hospitable

“I hate being blamed for things that are not my fault,” says contractor and Canadian Home Workshop contributor Dave Paul of D.P. Renovations in Toronto. But many customers are all too willing to blame the front-line workers-the contractors who show up at the door-for delays or mistakes that are often beyond their control.

The homeowner/contractor relationship starts at the front stoop. Don’t start the contractor’s day off by opening the door and demanding that he take his shoes off and use drop sheets. If it’s a concern, ask (politely) what measures they take to prevent dirt and damage in the workspace.

And keep in mind that when a contractor comes to work on your home-whether it’s for an hour or a month-your house becomes his de facto office. When’s the last time you showed up at someone’s office and weren’t offered a cup of coffee or a cold drink? Often, contractors will decline, particularly if it’s a quick in-and-out job, but the offer helps to break the ice and tries to establish cordial relations.

“A cup of coffee goes a long way. If somebody asks you to do a little extra that’s not part of the job and they don’t offer you coffee, it would be: ‘No, I don’t think so. It’s not on the work order,’” says Art Lussier, co-owner of Scarborough, Ont.—based Superior Home Improvements.

Providing parking, particularly in dense urban areas, is another way courtesy can be extended. Contractors are leery of leaving their trucks filled with valuable tools parked out of sight; and having to schlep back and forth for tools can quickly become an annoyance. If you have a parking spot, make sure it’s available for the contractor’s use.

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