I made a huge mistake when I hired a “friend” as my contractor. Things seemed to be going as planned in the beginning, but as time moved on, the renovation process did not. I’ve known Chris* for years; we’ve done work together in the past, as I’ve done renderings for his flips. He was in the process of remodeling my mother’s powder room and had just taken up the carpet on the first floor, when the the fire happened (see previous post) https://www.tayloredinteriorsolutions.com/blog/2018/6/22/back-to-life. So, I asked him to be my contractor, to help me restore my mother’s house.
The first red flag was when I noticed that Chris didn’t reach out to me to keep me in the loop on his progress. I always had to check in with him. I’d ask him how things were going, what had been done, and about the overall process. He would tell me one thing, then do another, or things just weren’t getting done at all. When I pressed him about it, he would give me excuse after excuse. I asked for receipts many times; he never sent them. I asked him for permits. I never received those, either. I later learned that the permits were never acquired. Yes, Chris had been lying to me the entire time about having the permits needed to work on my mother’s house. Smh.
After making my way through all of Chris’s fraudulence, I had to call the structural adjuster to take a look at the house and assess how off track things were. He was disappointed and shocked by the state of the house. It was so serious, he was able to get an additional month’s stay in our temporary housing approved. Thank God for that!
Thanks to my friend and fellow designer Lauren White, I was able to get a new contractor on board who’s moving right along with the renovation. He’s completed more work in three weeks than Chris had in about five months. Unfortunately, my family and I will have to live through the last of the construction once we move back in at the end of September, but at least now I know we’ll be in a habitable home before the year is over.
I trusted Chris as a paying client and a friend, to do the job he agreed to do, which is to restore my mother’s house for my family and I AND to get it done in a timely fashion.
As if things haven’t been stressful enough since my mother passed, having to deal with a contractor who is unreliable, dishonest, and not worth my time or money has been a complete nightmare. I gave Chris money that I will probably have to go to court to get back and the friendship we once had has been ruined by his shady business practices. But, through the mistake of choosing the wrong contractor I’ve learned a few lessons that I must share for anyone who is about to begin a major renovation...
Do your research!
Ask the contractor for referrals or find online reviews to assist you in making an informed decision. This will save you time and money in the long run.
Confirm your dates before you start.
Before getting started, ensure that you have a hard date for when your contractor will begin working and a reasonable estimate of time for when everything will be complete, and get it in writing.
Expect daily updates and do unexpected pop ups.
Your contractor should be communicating with you at all times. You should not have to stalk your contractor to get answers to your questions. Also, visit the property a few days a week. This will help you keep a watchful eye on the progress of the renovation.
Make sure your contractor has a payment schedule.
You should know at all times what your money is being spent on—labor, electrical, plumbing, etc. and get receipts for all money transactions.