What Does Your Contractor Really Mean?

Contractors didn't become contractors because they love to communicate. Sometimes what they say seems completely obvious to them, but makes no sense to you. And a contractor might speak euphemistically to dance around difficult topics. These tips should help you translate some of the euphemisms and somewhat curt statements you might hear, so that you get the most out of the client-contractor relationship.

1. Let's do it my way instead. Odds are, your contractor has more experience doing things a certain way, so he may want to recommend that process. It's usually best to go with it rather than having him try something for the first time on your job.

2. The price is... Unless you're changing the scope of work, a contractor won't expect to negotiate a lump sum price quote. If you think the price is too high, get another quote for comparison. While prices vary because of differences in approaching the project or overhead costs, a contractor won't stay in business unless he prices competitively.

3. Let's walk through and make a punch list. A contractor wants to know everything you need done to be satisfied with the work. Every trip to your job costs your contractor, so make an effort to come up with a complete punch list —a list of to-do items that need to be completed for the project to be considered complete — instead of sending it bit by bit over time.