This is second part of blog on How to Hire Right Contractor.
Very often I work with professionals from different trades, some I meet myself, others come from recommendations. Unfortunately, sometimes great expertise, high profile and superb skills isn’t enough for complete positive experience.
Everyone has different personality behind professionalism. To see it, you need to get to know person better! Unfortunately, time is against of us and professional testimonial becomes a priority in hiring contractor.
I believe overall experience can be divided on two parts : #1 Final work; #2 Work process. Professionalism guarantees quality of work, which is our final result; when right personality of contractor is important factor of positive work process.
Could you say “This contractor did an amazing work but he is sh… to work with. Highly recommended!” ? Believe it or not but I heard this several times and even had “an opportunity” to work with one or two. But this experience taught me a good thing, to see this attitude and first signals to avoid “no my type” contractors before we start next time.
Here what you really should look for:
#1 Good Professional ethics:
There are contractors who like to criticize other professionals. It happens even without looking at their work, with no clear argument to discuss. You can call it “just a talk”. Working on big scale projects different contractors have to work as a team. We all know that good understanding starts with respect. Only then two professionals can communicate effectively.
#2 Contractor with good planner:
Most of contractors are self-employed and they plan time and orders themselves. During high constraction season most of them are well-booked with waiting time about 6 weeks (average). But there are “contractors – unicorns”, they do magic. Being very booked, they somehow find time for you between orders. This professionals are rare to meet but when you meet one, stay down to earth. All professionals work certain hours, they have family, kids, dog to walk and dinner to eat. Nobody works over night and extra weekend. What I want to say that this type of contractors aren’t reliable. You might be promissed special day between other two clients/orders, you will believe but then on day X, there is no order or contractor to show up because he is overbooked. Magic disappears! Your Ideal contractor has good planner, he knows how long it takes to complete one order before takes next one. He marks it in the diary and informs you about available day. You know the date when contractor is free FOR YOU and ready to focus on your request.
#3 Solution finder vs. problem thinker:
Being creative person, I often suggest not standart soltions. That’s why I especially value open-minded professionals. It’s very important to have on your side not only highly skilled person but also the individual who has enthusiasm to solve big and small dilemmas (not always so creative). You don’t need to go far to hear reasons why something can’t be done. There will be listed many reasons including bad weather and bad luck. If you meet contractor who says that something you want can not be done and proposed solution doesn’t work for you! >>Look for a different contractor who will find solution to make your idea work! It’s the same if you go to doctor and he says “You are deadly sick and there is no cure!”, I don’t think you will give up that easily and surely will find new doctor ;)
#4 Must be easy-going:
Once I met two contractors who brough their skills on a whole new level. They do their job great, quality is outstanding but they work with provisional materials of certain brands or type. Once contractor nearly refused to paint hallway because paint was of a wrong brand. I know sometimes it’s important to have good quality materials but everything should be reasonable.
#5 Fair man!:
You know that nobody is perfect, even perfectionist! Mistakes and falures happen most of the times simply by accident. I think it is very important for contractor to be mature, honest and fair man. It’s not about IF, it’s more WHEN ‘falure’ is going to happen. Nobody of both sides should take it personally!
Remember my #1 type, this contractor might blame others after own falure “I could do it better if not him…..I was telling about him at the beginning”. It will be hard to untangle this ball of facts.
Somebody else might refuse the fact of bad quality work and will prefer to retire.
I have a great respect to professionals who aren’t affraid to face this situation and do their best to resolve it! Well done!
The best way to see if contractor has a right personality, ask him questions related to each position I named above. Ask him what to expect if you supply own materials, if something goes wrong; try to find out more details on how you cooperate and communicate or how he will work with other contractors on site etc. Than more questions you ask (even you think obvious ones) than better understanding you get that the person in front of you is the right one to hire!
I have to say, reading this blog post, believe me that there are more of professional, intellegent and highly-skilled men than ”not great ones”! Unfortunately, when it happens to meet one, contrast is too strong to miss it.
Best of luck!