Where's my contractor?

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ June 10, 2013

Whether you're doing a kitchen remodel, installing new siding, or putting on an addition, few things can be as frustrating as having several days go by with no workers on the project. Where did they go and when will they be back? Should you file a missing persons report?

Fortunately, contractors that operate like this are in the minority, but unfortunately, they do exist. Checking references from previous customers is one way to guard against this type of situation -- especially from those whose projects were recently completed. However, there are also a few other ways to avoid having to solve the case of the missing contractor.

Communication: establishing guidelines with your contractor

Who's in charge of your remodeling project? How can you get in touch with your contractor other than calling their office? How soon should you expect a call back? If you don't know the answers to these questions before your project begins, the groundwork has already been set for potential problems. Here are a few communication guidelines to establish before starting any home improvement job that involves a contractor:

  • Phone numbers -- Being able to call an office and speak to a receptionist is nice, but you should have your remodeling contractor's cell phone number. Very few contractors spend much time at their office other than very early in the morning and at the end of the day. And while it's perfectly understandable that they may not always be able to answer their phone, make it clear that you expect a call back that same day.
  • Jobsite supervision -- Depending on the size of your project, the owner of the contracting company may not be on your jobsite every day. However, they should always have an onsite supervisor who knows what's going on and with whom you can communicate. This supervisor should be there at least part of every day that the job is underway.
  • Schedule -- While your contractor may have told you about how long the project should take, make sure there is a completion date in your written contract. Contractors are often a little less likely to put a project on the back-burner or pull a disappearing act when the completion date is written rather than just verbal. Of course, you have to be reasonable as well -- they have no control over the weather or material backorders.

On occasion, a remodeling contractor may need to pull their workers from your project for a day or two when a special need arises. However, you should be informed of the situation and provided an estimate of when they will be back on your job. Establishing these communication guidelines should help avoid misunderstandings and even more important, keep you from wondering where your contractor is.

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