We hire people to do a lot of things for us professionally and privately.  We often have a positive experience because of a person’s behavior as opposed to their performance.  When you have someone do something for you, you must put a little work in yourself as well.  Hiring a contractor is like making a new friend, at first there is a little nervousness about boundaries, then once that subsides a little overconfidence, and mutual understanding.  I wish someone had told me these things before I had work done, at my house. Let’s jump to the part where the crew is arriving because you have already made your choice, you have to explain the dos and don’ts right away, be sure to be around when they get to a point you have specific instructions about and be sure to repeatedly ask about the completion date.

Explain the dos and don’ts right away.  Having someone in your space is not always comfortable.  It can be much better if you lay down ground rules as people arrive at the site.  Explain where to park, where they can load and unload, what facilities they can use, and noise concerns.  Most people you hire are professionals and would prefer to have some instruction so that they can get to what they do right away.  Make sure to address your instructions to the manager of the team, they know the people that they work with and will communicate with you.  If they let something slide, remind them and let them handle it.  

Be sure to be present when the crew is working on something you gave specific instructions about.  I’m embarrassed to say how many times I have spent time explaining what to do to someone, only to leave and return once they did the exact opposite.  One time I explained to the guy digging the septic tank that I use the large rocks for the landscaping, and that he should leave them aside for me to collect.  I went about my day, and when I returned, I was met by a smiling laborer who said that he made a special hole to bury the rocks like I asked.  If I had been there, I could have saved him a lot of trouble, and I would have had enough rocks for the front garden.  You do not need to stand over the person working and direct their every motion; you do need to be around if questions arise or problems with what you want to come up.  Remember, they are experts in what they do, and you may just like the way something that you saw when you were at this place looked.  It might not be possible with the materials being used.  What you want may not be in the scope of work quoted by the contractor, and they may need to discuss costs.

Here is a tough one.  How do you achieve getting the job done on time, without being a nag?  Hiring a contractor to do a simple job is never simple. You present a project, they provide a quote, you agree and then they start working.  That sounds simple, but a building is not a simple thing and if any work needs to be removed to complete a project, the contractor will almost always find something that could be changed, fixed, or improved.  This will invariably result in conversations about what to do, and the correct course of action to follow.  When it comes to deadlines, make sure that you express them as often as you can.  Ask “Are you on schedule to finish on the deadline?”  Why because they may have a schedule in mind that does not meet your deadline.  This is an ask, not a demand.  “Is this change going to make us miss the deadline?” is another question that would be better accepted than.  “You have to finish, or you will be fined!”  If you want to post the deadline on the wall at the site if can serve a reference for everyone there.  Go over the schedule with the team manager and then post all the completion dates to make sure that you are on schedule.

Working with new people on something so personal can be nerve wracking.  Follow these guidelines to make the experience as smooth as possible. Go over the ground rules, make sure that you are understood before moving on to the next step.  Be around when the important details are being worked on.  If you had to put in your input during planning, then be there during production.  Make everyone aware of your schedule.  It is impossible to achieve a deadline if you don’t know what it is. These are a few methods to employ for you to achieve the best result.  

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