Home renovation projects can be expensive. One way that Toronto residents often try to save money is by taking on some of the work themselves, under the supervision of a general contractor. Using your own time and labour can prevent costs from escalating, as labour usually ends up taking a significant chunk of a remodelling budget. Even if you don’t have any particular trade skills, there’s a good chance you’ll still be capable of basic labouring tasks, which would otherwise require employing another person. However, if you’re planning to do this, it’s essential to make sure you have a good working relationship with your general contractor.
How to Make Sure Things Go Smoothly with Your General Contractor
If you have ever worked as a subcontractor, or seen subcontractors work with a general contractor, you will be aware that not everything goes smoothly all the time. This could also be the case if you choose to work under the general contractor, even while employing them. Problems can be solved much more easily if you have a good relationship and mutual respect. The first thing you’ll need to do is sit down with them and have a frank discussion about how it will work. Here are some of the things you’ll need to bear in mind:
- Be Reliable – You will need to take your commitments seriously. Just as with any job, nobody likes people who can’t be relied on. Cancelling work at short notice – and even at longer notice – can cause friction in the relationship and problems for your project. If you think you won’t be able to keep your commitments all the time, it is better to hire a labourer who will actually turn up and do the work required of them.
- Be Prepared – You need to be ready to work at the times you have agreed. If you are still at your office in downtown Toronto, or just stepping out of the shower when work is due to begin, you are wasting other people’s time and delaying work on your project. Make sure you have the necessary clothing and tools for the job you need to do.
- Don’t Wait to be Shown Everything – If you don’t know what certain tools are for, what their names are, or you’re unfamiliar with how something works, so your best to find out in advance. You’re not expected to know everything, but it will save a lot of time if you know which tool you are being asked to pass, or which way to do a certain job. Having to tell a labourer the same things more than once can become frustrating.
- Don’t Bite off More than you Can Chew – If you have never done a certain task before, or you have never been shown how to do it, don’t volunteer to do it. You may find that this happens when the project is pushed for time, but your inexperience is likely to cause more serious delays and could cause future problems for the project and risks to your safety.
- Be Communicative – Communication doesn’t only happen at the work site. Be sure to answer your phone, return missed calls and reply to emails. In any relationship, not only a professional one, poor communication will lead to a lack of trust and respect.
If you follow these points, there is no reason why you can’t make a success of your working relationship. Be prepared to work hard, but remember to be friendly, too. Deal proactively with any problems and remember that you are all working towards the same ends.