When the decision is made to embark on a home improvement project, the process of change begins. One minute your home goes from its usual patterns and rhythms, and suddenly it morphs into a place of (hopefully controlled) chaos. You know it will be worth suffering through in the end, of course, even if in the moment it feels like a nightmare that you willingly opted in to.
No matter how adept we are at DIY, for the big home projects, most of us have to bring in tradespeople to do the heavy lifting. While it might not be the most comfortable of circumstances, it is a necessity. There are some things that you shouldn’t attempt to do for yourself, no matter how tempting they are!
So with a longing for professional quality, you have to set about the time-old process of getting quotes and discussing what you want. It may be a process you’re well familiar with, but it’s not one that becomes any easier.
When you look at it, there’s good reason for that too. It is, in essence, an audition. Some tradespeople will talk as if they already have been hired, which can get your back up and make you feel argumentative. Others may be too hesitant. But perhaps the worst of all is the person who stands in your home, brought here to give you a quote… but then refuses to discuss numbers. They will give a ballpark figure, but they say the rest will be found out as they go along. (For the record, it’s a wise move to avoid this – because you can guarantee the work will end up being at the very top of the quoted range, if not over it…)
There are a few tricks you can use to make the process as hassle-free as possible. They seem worth sharing, given this is an endeavour that millions of people will find themselves venturing on this year – so…
1. Know Your Stuff
The only way you can have a meaningful discussion about costs and expectations if you know what you’re talking about. If you invite someone to quote for a new bathroom, brush up and ensure you’ve got bathroom jargon explained to yourself so you can more easily understand what they’re saying. The process applies whatever the job. Not only does it make it easier for you to understand the quote, but it will also ensure the tradesperson knows you’re not to be taken advantage of.
2. Know Your Expectations
If you’re bringing someone in for a full kitchen refurbishment, you need to have a firm idea of what you’re imagining. If possible, use sites like Pinterest to create mood boards to give a thorough overview rather than just a few basic words. Have a list of things that absolutely must happen and then a few dream selections; the things you acknowledge might not be practical and can live without, but would love anyway
3. Know Your Budget
Set a top limit in terms of budget for any work that you’re having done and do not exceed it. Share this budget with the tradesperson and make it clear it won’t move. Any decent tradesperson will be honest if they can’t complete the work in your budget, or will at least have a few cost-saving methods.
With these three points in mind, you can go into the “audition” with a firm idea. Whether you’re doing a basic overhaul or a full-scale remodel, they should help the process run as smoothly as possible.