Working with Contractors: Preparation Prevents Problems

Winter is prime time for indoor remodeling jobs. But don't jump in just because a contractor suddenly has all the time in the world to work with you. When it comes to working with contractors, proper preparation is everything. You'll get the best price, best experience and best results--any time of year--if you follow these guidelines.

Plan ahead: Before you even call a contractor, think through the parameters of your remodeling project and work up a detailed description that can be shared with all pros who bid on the gig. Architects and designers call these "specifications" (specs) but even a less formal detailed description can help make sure you're comparing apples to apples as those bids come in, and sets up proper expectations for the contractor who lands the job. Do thorough product research and include brand, model and style information for all fixtures and finishes; otherwise, you run the risk of the contractor defaulting to the cheapest choices available.