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Homeowner and Contractor – Remodeling Partners

In any home remodeling project there are two parties involved – the client and the contractor. The client is the homeowner – the one who lives in the home that is to be remodeled and who is paying for all the work that is to be done. It is he who has identified the areas where change is needed. The modifications that are planned are based on his intimate knowledge of the needs of the family that lives in the home and his desire to make everyone as comfortable and happy as possible.

The contractor is the one who will actually execute the project and gives the homeowner the home he wants. Based on his experience and qualifications he may not like some of the client’s ideas. And realizing that the client is making a mistake, he may suggest alternatives that, in his experience, will be better for the client and his family.

It is here that problems between the two key players in the remodeling project can arise.

The Rigid Client


No one knows his family, their likes and needs as well as the homeowner. And no one gives their best interests more importance than he does. That is never going to be in dispute. But when he makes up his mind that his way is the only way and that anything else is wrong, that is where problems arise. A major home remodel can be a complex engineering and construction undertaking. The average homeowner will normally not have the specialized knowledge to appreciate the technical issues involved. That is why some of the ideas and concepts that he wants to be incorporated in the project may not be viable. When a contactor says that a certain aspect of the remodel is not possible or suggests and alternative solution, the homeowner could lend an ear, not insist that it is his house and he wants things done his way. That kind of attitude will antagonize the contractor and that is an invitation to disaster.

The Unbending Contractor


An inflexible contractor is an equal problem. He may be highly qualified and experienced and know that many of the client’s ideas may not be workable. He may know that doing things the way the client wants them done will result in a remodeled home that will not work, will not look good and on which money will have been wasted. His effort to get the client to change his mind may be in the client’s best interest. And he will not want to be part of a remodeling project that ends up as a failure.

The contractor must realize that the client is the major stakeholder and that he must be given reasons and logical arguments to enable him to change his mind. The client must be given full and complete justification for any change to his plans. Simply saying that something will not work or that it is not the way the contractor does things will not suffice. Clients will not have the technical background to understand the finer issues and the contractor needs to be patient and go the extra mile to explain everything in a way that the reasons and implications of his suggestions can be clearly understood. 

Two Sides to Every Issue


When everyone understands that there are two (or more) sides to every issue and that no one is always going to be right, things move in the right direction. When both client and contractor know their own minds but are respectful of the other’s knowledge, needs and imperatives, a strong working relationship will develop. And it is this kind of powerful partnership that results in the best home remodeling outcomes.

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