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  • Pinto Carpentry

New Homeowners’ Etiquette Guide: Do’s and Don’ts of Working with Contractors

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

As part of our work entails renovating stairs and rails for private homeowners as well as builders, we work with the general public on a daily basis. We’re quite familiar with the ins-and-outs of working within people’s personal homes, and maintaining a clean, professional atmosphere while doing so. However, we know that the process can be very overwhelming or even a little confusing to homeowners, especially if you’ve just purchased your first home!

For today’s blog, we thought we’d outline some general etiquette for homeowners when working with contractors. It’s our hope that after you’re done reading this friendly guide, you’ll be more confident in navigating the renovation process not just with railing and stair installers like us, but perhaps with any contractors you hire down the road, too.

Let’s learn together!

birds eye view of contractors around a table discussing plans

New Homeowners’ Etiquette Guide: Do’s and Don’ts of Working with Contractors

  • Do the research on your project and decide on your budget. Figure out what you’re looking for, make some notes, and if possible provide reference pictures of your current stairs and rails and surrounding area, as well as any inspiration you may have. Be ready to pass these along to your contractor when you request an estimate. Some contractors may need to schedule an in-person walkthrough or take precise measurements to give an accurate quote before you receive the estimate.

person's hands typing on silver laptop doing a search

  • The most important thing is to establish clear, concise, and open communication with your contractors, and be consistent. If you have a question, feel free to ask for clarification! If you are unsure about what options you have for materials within your budget, let your contractors know up front so they can help guide you through the options. It’s okay if you change your mind about something, but it’s important to let contractors know of any adjustments before materials are ordered and/or any work has begun. Changing your plan frequently may delay work or cause the project to incur additional costs. Try to limit your changes and swaps; it makes the process easier from start to finish if we’re able to have a consistent plan.

blurry photo of couple sitting on a couch with a paper cutout of a house in focus in front of them

  • Prepare your home for work and help us stay safe on the job. Whether this is an initial consultation walkthrough, or you’re welcoming your contractor to start work, you’ll want to make sure the area where the crew is working will be clean and tidy. Stow away any decor, valuables, delicate items, or breakables so they’re out of the way of tools, materials, and workers. Keep floors, doorways, and hallways clear and free of clutter and belongings as much as possible. Keep children, elderly family members, or pets from wandering or roaming around the construction areas. Ensure that your driveway is empty and open so that your contractors can easily unload materials, move tools around, and go back and forth to work vans/trucks. Try to keep a bathroom free for access for the comfort and safety of the on-site crew, and before work begins, be sure to show them where to access it easily if they need it.

contractor in full safety gear with yellow vest and hard hat looking at his phone

  • Check-in with your contractors periodically, but don’t interrupt while they’re using tools nor hover over the work site. For your safety and security, it’s important not to hover around the construction area as we don’t want you to incur any injuries. It’s also important to wait until a break in the “action” so you do not distract the crew while they’re holding dangerous equipment or machinery. Let them focus on the task at hand without interruptions, and don’t try to use the appointment as a personal tutorial session. Feel free to inquire if they would like some hydration or light refreshments; that’s a kindness that’s always appreciated! Of course, if you aren’t able to stick around at home while we’re working, that’s okay, too, just let us know.

green doorway open showing a staircase with gray carpeting

  • Stay calm and collected, and reach out with any questions. We understand the stress that comes from living in a home under construction (we’ve been there, too!) If you need to discuss any concerns or problems, communicating calmly will help your contractors troubleshoot best and resolve the issue quickly and professionally.

a person holding a cell phone with the 5 stars of google reviews on the top

  • Love your new stairs and rails or other home reno project? Let your contractors know! Aside from the initial happy faces and smiles we love to see after a job well done, the best way you can show your appreciation is to share the good news with those around you. We love to hear from our happy customers, it means the world to a small business like us. Drop a note via e-mail detailing what you love about the finished project, send some snaps of your home all cleaned up and styled with a little “lived-in” flare. We love to share before/after photos on our social media, so let us know if we’re able to post yours! Consider leaving a kind review on social media or Google; just a few short sentences and a tap for 5 stars can help us reach new customers. Tell your friends and family via “word of mouth” referrals and pass along our info. These small steps make a huge impact on independent and small businesses!

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