Because you have done your homework, it is very unlikely that you will have problems with workmanship or ethics with your contractor, but don’t believe for a minute that this makes you immune to problems with the job. In fact, it is an absolute certainty that problems will arise. Knowing this in advance, it is important to set up arrangements for regular communication with your contractor.
Make arrangements to meet with someone in charge of the job at least once a day. This can be first thing in the morning, at lunch time, at the end of the day, or at any other convenient time. It should be with the same person every day, and it should take place at the job site. Make it a regular part of your routine during the remodeling process.
This regular opportunity for keeping each other informed is the best insurance you and your contractor have against the disagreements that can arise from poor communication. The daily meeting provides you with an opportunity to ask questions and be reassured, and it provides the contractor with an opportunity to explain glitches, delays, and so on. Many people expect the person who sold the job to be around all the time. This is rarely the case, so it’s better to clarify just what you expect from the contractor right from the beginning.
Another source of problems is “change orders.” Change orders are the little (and not so little) changes that you make to the initial plan as the job progresses. Change orders are virtually inevitable. Have a set procedure for discussing these changes, for getting agreement on how the change will affect total costs and payments, and for getting the understanding in writing.
Again, the order of events is crucial: come to agreement first; then write down all the details, including things like dimensions and model numbers; and finally, allow the work to proceed. By taking these steps in the proper order, you can avoid what often turn out to be expensive and stressful disagreements.
Remember, it is a good idea to take a couple of breaks during the remodeling job. Get out of the house and go to the beach or visit friends for a couple of days and get your batteries recharged. Going to a nearby hotel for a weekend package-for-two is a great way to relax and refresh your outlook.