Any homeowner for a period of time is bound to encounter the challenge of renovation. Be it related to age, deterioration, or simply a structural facelift, the causes can be many, the options almost limitless.
There are good reasons why renovation reality shows have become a staple of speciality television, not to mention the more historical, but still viable, routes of trade shows and in-store seminars. People, hands-on or not, want to have a handle on what to do, if by themselves or at least how to proceed if dealing with professionals.
Naturally, there are a litany of cautionary issues in engaging the vicissitudes of home repair:
- Beware if a prospective contractor arrives a day early for his appointment because he happened to be in the neighbourhood
- If you see the eyes of an estimator lighting up when evaluating your needs, be sure there aren’t dollar signs silhouetted there
- Terms such as TBD on an estimate do not mean ‘free’
- If doing some legwork to save money on a project, try to shoulder only decisions and not heavy materials
- When it comes to presentation and promotional materials, remember there’s a reason they’re called ‘glossies’
- Beware the estimator who arrives by city bus, or needs to borrow a pen and paper
- Be careful if a contractor shows up and starts promoting his new business at the expense of the company he was supposed to be representing
- If providing free food or drink to help energize workers, don’t expect a tip
- Beware the renovator who doesn’t want to provide a detailed estimate in order to save printing costs
- If going to a renovator’s showroom, remember it’s not a candy store, and the sales people are not there to give free samples
- When checking out business ratings, remember how the example of television illustrates that ratings points do not necessarily equate with good work
It’s also worth keeping in mind that, like any other negotiated arrangement, compromise is a important item in your toolbox.