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Treat contractors with the same courtesy you expect

The pros who earn your repeat business are the ones who get the basics right. But this street runs two ways. To find out if you’re a conscientious consumer, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Are you as responsive as you expect others to be?

As you work through your contractor selection process, be sure to inform everyone about where you are in the hiring process. At the very least, let unsuccessful bidders know when you’ve made your choice. Service providers don’t want to waste time thinking they’re still in the running for a job.

If you can, give details that losing bidders might be able to use to improve their chances of landing the next job.

2. Do you clearly state your expectations?

Service providers aren’t mind readers. If there are things you want, or rules you want followed, say so. Do you want workers to use a particular bathroom and not another? Do you want your driveway left clear?

3. Are you aware that change orders have consequences?

Your contract is your best friend in making sure you’re happy with a project. But it’s likely you will want to alter your original plans. Talk to your contractor and get all changes in writing. Have a clear understanding of how any agreed-upon changes will affect the final price and time line.

4. Do you treat contractors with the same courtesy you expect?

The interaction between contractors and consumers is, in many ways, a negotiation. There’s often a lot at stake, but there’s always room for courtesy and respect.

If you find that you repeatedly experience conflict with people you hire, consider that the problem may be mostly on your end. If you haven’t always practiced the Golden Rule, this is your golden opportunity to start.

5. Did you say thank you?

If you want to give a business owner or employee a boost, write an e-mail or send a letter saying why you appreciated their work. Even better, write an online review that delivers the power to help them attract new business.