6 ways to get a reluctant contractor to answer your call.
1. Make it a Twofer
Bundle it up. Combining projects is a win-win for you and the contractor: You get the home you want, and they can charge enough money to make the job worth their while. It’s a win-sort-of-win. Obviously, two jobs will cost more than one. But, then again, you’ll knock off half your honey-do list in one fell swoop. And that’s pretty sweet.
2. Take On the Hassle of Buying the Goods
Contractors will be more tempted to take your job if their overhead is low, and the hassle is really minimal. In other words, if you take care of buying the materials and making sure they’re available when the contractor needs them.
This one is definitely a win-win, because you’ll be saving money, too. Contractors often mark up the cost of materials to cover transportation and storage costs. For instance, the cost of installing new hardwood floors will be lower if you have the wood shipped directly to your house. It removes the contractor’s risk while saving them time and effort.
3. Chill Out Until Winter
Assuming your project doesn’t need completion before your in-laws visit next month, it’ll benefit you greatly to wait for the off-season. Most contractors will be eager for work once temps start to dip into the freezing zone. And You’ll get a better contractor at a better price.
4. Send a Snap
Homeowners often get multiple quotes, so there’s a good chance the contractor’s visit won’t bring in any new business. For a job that sounds like a pittance, why would they bother? Save them the trip and take pictures. Email or text the pics, plus basic information about your project, and the process can be expedited for both you and them.
5. Be (Sigh) Patient
Does your project need completion today? Or can you bear waiting a few weeks to get those front porch steps replaced? Allowing a flexible timeline might encourage contractors to pick up your small job.
Contractors might fit in smaller jobs during downtime for larger projects. They can pop over and work on your built-in window seat while they’re waiting for tile to arrive for a bathroom remodel they’re doing nearby. Squeezing in bits of work might mean the job takes a long, long time. It’s fair to not let a project drag out too long, but offering flexibility can get a project started — and hopefully finished — sooner.
6. And, Finally, Don’t Act Shocked at the Cost
Contractors are different from handymen for a reason. Handymen have a wide variety of skills that lets them tackle odd jobs, like patching up holes and fixing wobbly doors. Contractors offer a deeper knowledge of construction and are typically licensed in a specific trade (like plumbing or carpentry), letting them tackle complex projects with precision.
A handyman, for instance, can hang shelves. But you’ll want someone with specialty skills for constructing new built-ins, a complex task that could go wrong in many interesting ways. Hence, the general contractor. And you should expect to pay extra for those special skills.
Typically, contractors also provide liability insurance for your project, workers comp for their employees, and a warranty in case something goes wrong.
While pricing specifics will depend on your area or job, expect a handyman to cost roughly $25 per hour. A contractor might charge $60 or (much, much) more.
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