Sometimes things that are a “given”, people let slide or ignore in favor of an inexpensive quote. It is really important to establish what your non-negotiables are and hire the trade that is the best fit for your expectations [ and that your bank account will allow ]. Don’t ignore early warning signs either. Excuses starting before you have even met are often a sign of what you may get during an actual project. I always look to be sure a trades actions mirror what they are verbally telling me [ ie. says “ my job sites are highly organized and clean” but you see tools in complete disarray in their truck ].
Twelve Qualities in Great Contractors or Trades:
- Comes with a proven, established skilled crew or sub-trades appropriate for the scope of work [ You would be surprised how many trades leave actual work in the hands of people they have never subcontracted! ]
- Great communication [ verbally, detailed agreement & change orders etc ]
- Good listener [ & understanding of who is the client! ]
- Reliable [ follows through on commitments, shows up on time and when expected, makes your job a priority and keeps the project on track ]
- Attention to finishing details [ The finishing details can make or break a finished space. Some trades feel a job is complete if it is functional. If you want more than function, be sure your level of attention to detail matches the trades and your budget! ]
- Ability to anticipate most challenges before they arise [ this will help minimize surprises, frustration, extra costs ]
- Organized [ order of actual work & also tools on job site ]
- Ultimate respect for homeowners space [ all surfaces thoroughly covered before work commences & very special care throughout project ]
- Continual clean and daily end of day job site clean up [ the entire crew needs to be on board with this! ]
- Creative problem solver [ Challenges always come up. You want a problem solver, not an excuse maker or blamer ]
- Great after care customer service [ When a job is complete and something needs to be addressed, I expect a problem solver, with a willing attitude who comes back to job site in a timely manner! ]
Needless to say, always cover these bases: 3-5 referrals of similar scope of work, proper permits, licenses and insurance.
Anything else? Please add in the comment section!
Lisa Ferguson Interior Design, author of this feature, is a full service Interior Design firm in Toronto, Ontario. Lisa would love to talk to you about designing a space expressly for you.
You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.