In-Person Consultations Matter

During an in-person consultation, contractors can take notes, pictures or video. They will also measure accurately and answer any questions you have about your project. Use the consultation time to get to know your contractor so you can feel confident and comfortable having them in your home. © Steveheap |

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When you call a contractor, take time to explain what you need, when you’d like your project started/completed, and what materials you may have already purchased. This helps your contractor understand what to expect when coming out for a visual inspection.

Every so often, we get a call from a prospective client who wants an estimate without us coming out to see the project. They usually send current pictures and a picture of what they would like. We highly discourage this, as it doesn’t give an accurate understanding of the project. Unless it’s small and straight-forward, such as painting a small bathroom, it’s important to set up a consultation for the following reasons:

  1. Meet the contractor and learn about his/her background and experience. Have they done this kind of work before? Will he be doing the work himself? Will others be helping? Do they use subcontractors? They will be spending time in your house. Build a relationship. If you don’t feel comfortable or if the contractor isn’t able to answer questions or explain the project, find someone else.
  2. Measuring properly. When pricing, contractors consider square footage, as well as other structural elements. Are there lots of corners or outlets? Does furniture need to be moved? For tile setting, outlets or interior structures such as columns, require precise measuring and extra cutting. During a consult, contractors note visual details that might impact their work.
  3. When estimating a floor, it’s important for the contractor to understand what’s underneath and to check for signs that something’s wrong. The contractor should be able to point out any potential problems. Pictures don’t show this! Unfortunately, the only way to see what’s going on under a floor is to remove the floor. The contractor won’t do this during a consultation, but they can point out any concerns and let you know if that could impact your project. And then, when it’s time to rip up the floor, the contractor should show you exactly what’s going on (if anything), what steps need to be taken, and if this changes the project’s timing or pricing. This conversation should always happen BEFORE taking steps that change either.

As you can see, it’s important to have an in-person consultation, which usually lasts about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the project. This meeting will help you decide which contractor you feel most comfortable and confident hiring, and which one has the experience to do the job right.

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