Top 10 ways to annoy your contractor

What not to do when working with a contractor

By Allan Britnell

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Tell them how to do their jobs

For the Type-A personalities out there, the urge to micromanage might be hard to resist but, as Lussier puts it: “If you think you’re going to tell me how to do the job, you’ve hired the wrong contractor.”

Paul lays some of the blame on home-renovation TV shows. While he admits they’re great for giving customers ideas and helping to prevent people from getting scammed: “Everybody thinks they know everything now because they’re watching these shows. Being second-guessed by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about would piss off anyone. It doesn’t just have to be a contractor.”

Set unrealistic deadlines

Don’t start calling around for quotes in January about building a cottage from the ground up and expect to move in by the Victoria Day weekend. Arranging permits and inspections, ordering materials and scheduling the various trades to arrive in the order they’re needed takes time and can be a daunting logistical endeavour.

On larger projects, material delays and labour shortages will almost invariably crop up. Then there’s mother nature’s input: a spring blizzard that shuts down the jobsite for a week can quickly snowball into lengthy holdups while various tradesmen are rescheduled.

And don’t forget that any last-minute changes you make can escalate into days or weeks of delays. “If you want to move a window or door after the drywall’s up, it’s that much more of an issue,” Brohman explains. “Wires and pipes may be running beside the window. Now you need a plumber, an electrician, a framer, a drywaller…. You need eight guys instead of the one guy who could have moved it at the framing stage.”

One variation on the problem is customers who knowingly hold back on asking for specific jobs to be done. “I’ve had customers know that they have extra work when they call me. But they’ve actually been told not to tell me everything until I get there,” Paul says. “My scheduling gets thrown to hell.”

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