7 Things Building Contractors Wish Their Clients Knew

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When you are a residential general contractor, you have to work with many people, so diplomacy and people skills are must-haves. However, even the most agreeable builders will run into tricky social situations. More often than not, they will choose to preserve goodwill with clients. However, there are things contractors wish their clients knew—here are some of those!

They Work Best With Their Subcontractors

When you hire a contractor, it means you trust them with the entire scope of the project. Don’t tell your contractor you want your cousin to do the plumbing or your uncle to do the electrical work. Groups with established working relationships are more efficient, and if you bring in your people, you’re taking that rapport away. Also, doing this might mean depriving your contractor’s subs of work—some tradespersons rely on larger contractors for regular gigs.

They Would Rather Work with Brand New Items

Reusing vintage items is good in theory, but it is challenging in practice. Old cabinets and drawers might look good in place, but they can fall apart with regular use. Leaded-glass windows look great, but they are impractical—they aren’t as energy-efficient and functional as newer types of windows. Instead of helping you save cash, using old things might cost more in the long run. If you like the look of old items, your contractor can probably help you achieve that without resorting to actual vintage pieces.

They Are Not after Extra Work

At times, homeowners might think that contractors underbid projects and load them up with additional tasks after the client signs. Although some contractors are guilty of this practice, most builders are honest people who want to give clients what they deserve. Contractors would like nothing more than have a detailed itemization of their intended work. However, each project is unique, and contractors need to change orders depending on factors they might uncover while building. Don’t fear change orders—they are there so your builders can make the best, most resilient structure for you.

They Won’t Exploit Their Permit Office Connections

A contractor cannot (and will not) persuade your local permit office to bend the rules for you. Don’t ask them to do this. Asking them to intervene on your behalf might strain their relationship with the permit office. In some cases, this behavior even results in fines. Contractors need good working relationships with permit officers. They build that rapport over the years, and one reason it exists is that most contractors don’t ask permit offices for special favors.

They’d Rather You Not Negotiate the Markup

A home builder is your partner in ensuring you stay within budget. A builder with a professional mindset works with and not against the client. Take advantage of the contractor’s years in the business and ask them to identify where you can save and splurge on home building costs. However, don’t ask them to lower their markup cost. If you think the fee is negotiable, consider that only part of it is the contractor’s income. Most of the markup goes back into running the business.

They Appreciate Outspoken Clients

Although no contractor likes dealing with impoliteness, don’t hesitate to speak out. They want to deal with requests and clarifications at the start or during the project. Instead of holding it in and resenting your contractor, be civil when voicing your concerns. Contractors are professionals—they won’t take your words personally. Besides, speaking up early on is better than letting these issues fester.

They’d Rather Work in an Empty House

Even if you have more than enough space and can live on a different floor of your property, it is best to get your entire family out of your contractors’ way. Staying elsewhere during the project is ideal, but your contractor will never tell you to vacate your own house. What’ll likely happen is that they will try to work around your presence. Still, so they can work uninterrupted, it is best to leave them alone and stay in a hotel or another house for the project’s duration.


Few homeowners have the experience and time to DIY a major home renovation. For large projects, you should always consider getting a remodeling contractor. When you have a contractor, you’re sure to have a complete and organized end product afterward.

For high-quality homes and construction that stands the test of time, hire Green Construction Holmes Builders. We are Chicago home builders specializing in Energy Star-certified, eco-friendly home construction, restorations, and remodels. Get a quote today or contact us for more information!

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