If you have hired a contractor to work on a project in your home or other work site, you may be wondering how you can walk the fine line between making sure your contractor is doing a good job and not over managing the contractor and the project.  It is important to understand that if you have hired a quality, reputable contractor, he or she should be trusted to do a quality job and not need to be over-managed.  However, it is necessary to make sure you are getting what you have paid for and that the work is what you expected.  Following a few simple steps can help you have the right amount of control with whatever project you have going on in your home that requires the use of a contractor.


Check References

Believe it or not, managing your contractor starts before he or she is even hired.  You should always check references before hiring your contractor.  Do not just ask for references, follow through and check them and also make sure they are recent.   If it is outside work you are having done on your home, such as an exterior painting or a deck, you may be able to obtain addresses where the contractor has recently done work.  This will allow you to do a drive-by of their previous work to evaluate the quality.



Leave a Paper Trail

Once you hire a contractor, sign a contract and get everything in writing.  Your contract should state in detail the work to be done, how long the work will take, and what your contractor will be paid.  It should also state who will provide the materials and equipment for the work, insurance obligations, and what, if any, penalties exist for work not completed on time.



Be Unexpected

Once you have hired your contractor and the contract is signed, it is important to check up on the contractor and the work being done.  The best tip for this is to drop by unannounced.  Many poor quality contractors will attempt to do more than one job at once.  If you let them know when you will be checking up on them, you give them more of an opportunity to do this and know they can get away with it.  If they do not know when you will be back and your schedule of dropping in is unpredictable, they are more like to stay on your job site and perform the work they should be doing for you.



These tips will help you walk the fine line between micro-managing your contractor and getting the work done how and when you need it done.  Remember to check references, view some of their previous work if possible, have a detailed signed contract before the work begins, and to check up on your contractor unannounced.  Following these few simple tips can help you with contractor management, and even more so to make sure that you get a quality job, that is done correctly and on time.