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You’ve been looking at the magazines for months, marking pages and circling photos. Vanities, fixtures, counter tops, flooring. You’ve measured and sketched and priced items and supplies. Now it’s time to find that person who’s going to ride herd on this project.

Hiring a professional contractor for a new construction or remodeling project is a smart thing. Yet as with any relationship, it’s wise to set and understand the terms and expectations of the relationship before the contract is signed. When one or both sides are unclear about the expectations it will lead to frustration at the least and expensive cost overruns at the most. Here are some tips for getting your relationship started on the right track.

Determine the project schedule. Yes, a start and estimated end date. But schedule also includes the priority of projects, doing things in the right order so, for example, the plumbers aren’t in the way of the carpenters. It’s crucial that the schedule include a proper, systematic order of projects so the right people can be on the right job on the right day. If you are hiring a general contractor, it is their job to schedule the individual tasks and workers. Make sure you see and agree to this plan before signing the contract.

Communicate. Regardless of project, few things are more frustrating than poor communication. Come to an agreement as to how you will communicate. Do you want face to face or phone communication? How often? Do you want a status update at the end of every work day? Every three days? Weekly reports? Whatever your preference, make your expectations clear at the beginning. If a text message or email at the end of the day is good for you, let the contractor know. It’s a given that there will be problems and unexpected issues during the length of the project. Establishing good communication goes a long way toward progress.

Determine who’s going to be on site. Is the contractor going to be supervising in person? Or do they have a foreman or project manager that will be on site making sure the work is done correctly? You’ll get frustrated in a hurry when you have questions and the people you’re trying to get answers from are passing the responsibility to someone else. Determine the line of authority and agree on what person you will get answers from. Also, know who has authority to speak for the contractor and who doesn’t.

Have a plan for protecting your property and belongings. In any construction project there’s going to be dust and demolition. How is the contractor going to protect your furniture, appliances and other property? Have the contractor determine what items of yours will need to be moved while the project is underway. Working together from the beginning, you can avoid any unfortunate damage.

Determine the potential “problem areas” of the project. Some construction is trickier than others. Have the contractor walk you through all the phases of the project, paying special attention to the areas that pose the biggest challenge. Identifying these at the beginning allows for “worst case scenario” planning. If these are identified early on, you are more likely to avoid those budget busters that make the project more expensive.

Who makes what decisions? Obviously, you don’t want to micromanage the project. That’s why you hire a general contractor. To take the process out of your hands. Yet there will be times when you have to make a decision. For example, if a change order is necessary or approving a purchase that wasn’t in the original bid. Outline with the contractor when you’ll be required to make a decision. Again, communication is key.

The pros at Sinclair are experts at managing plumbing, heating and air conditioning projects, be they remodels or new construction. We give you a detailed professional inspection and evaluation of your project, followed by a line item specific bid. We know the goal is to make your dreams a reality so you can enjoy your home! Call us today at 806-749-COOL (2665)

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