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Hiring a Pro Without Drama…or Sticker Shock

In our world of YouTube, Pinterest, HGTV forums, and free delivery it’s tempting to take on all DIY projects ourselves. Want to build a bookcase, replace ugly kitchen cabinets, or take down a wall that’s bumming out your feng shui?

That’s three clicks MAX on any phone, tablet, or computer.

But—and I know it may be hard to believe—sometimes all the answers aren’t floating around in Google-soup. Sometimes you need to bring in a professional contractor.

Hiring outside help isn’t a big deal. A successful contractor knows how to bring your Pinterest board to life. They have the real world skills, experience, and know-how to get projects done quickly and safely. Here are a few ways to prep for their arrival.

Write It Down.

Write down what you’re looking for, how much you’re willing to spend, and even the little details that are most important. If you have photos, make sure they’re clear and you can explain exactly which aspects you like best.

Don’t just show the potential builder a room and say ‘Like that…’ unless you’re giving them the freedom to spend all your money…and hire a wrecking ball...

When it comes to money, be realistic. Things always seem to cost more than we expect, especially with recent supply chain issues and inflation through the roof. If you’re a homeowner, consider asking your bank about home equity lines of credit, they’re ofter a much lower interest rate than credit cards.

Moral of the story, do a little research, it could save stacks of cash down the road!

On That Note...Look It Up.

Ok, cyberstalkers, here’s where you come in. No, I don’t mean be creepy...but dig into all aspects of a potential contractor.

Don’t just look at their website and socials; those have been polished to show off only the best bits. Scan customer reviews and check out the Better Business Bureau ( for any issues. Civic involvement, like membership in economic development groups and trade organizations, is a good sign. Being properly licensed, bonded, and insured is a must.

And don’t feel bad starting a conversation that may or may not go anywhere. Good businesspeople want clients to feel at ease and have all questions answered up front. Plenty of prep means fewer misunderstandings down the line. Ask for references and photos, they should be happy to share!

Sign On The Dotted Line

Once you’ve decided on a contractor, it’s time to tackle a contract. They’ll probably offer a standard form but read it through carefully before signing.

Work out payment times, who’ll buy materials, clean up details, how to discuss changes or problems along the way, and anything else you’re worried about. Like any relationship, success depends on clear, consistent, up-front communication.

Then sit back, let the professionals get to work, and get ready to enjoy your new space.

I promise it’ll be worth the wait!


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