Trust: The Cornerstone of the Contractor-Homeowner Relationship

A female homeowner recently confided in me that she is uncomfortable with allowing male contractors she doesn’t know into her house when she’s home alone or with her young children. “I personally get creeped out by it,” she explained. “Trust is everything, in that respect.”

I don’t think this is an uncommon sentiment because it is one we’ve heard many times before. After all, these contractors interact with homeowners’ families, children, pets, and personal spaces and items during a home-renovation project. People want to know that the companies they hire will treat them and their belongings with respect.

So, how can a contractor earn that trust and make homeowners feel safe and secure while their crews are coming and going during the renovation process? Here’s how we address that issue: We make sure that our clients know who is coming into their home because we know who we are sending. We hire people very carefully. Case in point: We are currently screening candidates for Carpenter and Lead Carpenter positions. We have looked at more than 100 resumes, but have interviewed only two people who met our hiring criteria. And we do not yet have a candidate we feel is a fit for us because we are picky. But we are still looking!

After the hiring process, we foster close relationships with our employees and crew members. We never “try out” a new subcontractor on a client’s home. They prove themselves on our spec houses or our own homes if we don’t yet have a relationship with them. As a result, we have very long-term employees whom we know well and trust.

Before the construction portion of a project begins, we make certain we personally introduce the clients and the lead contractor — and often the subcontractors — who will be working on their homes. Finally, we ensure that our clients know they will get a great design and a high-quality finished project. They know we will keep a clean worksite and operate at EPA/RRP standards, and we will finish on time and on budget.

Additional signs of a trustworthy contractor:

They are licensed and insured
They have been in business for a reasonable amount of time and have experience in completing a project like yours
They work from plans and a detailed budget, as opposed to scribbling notes on a napkin
They have an actual office, instead of working out of a truck
They have employees with health, workers compensation and liability insurance
They have professional certifications/affiliations, including National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Kitchen and Bath Association, Remodelers Advantage, and/or the U.S. Green Building Council
There are no homeowner claims registered against them check the Better Business Bureau or Homeowners for Better Building, etc.)
They are RRP/EPA Lead Safe certified remodelers
They offer customer references and welcome you to check them