If you were dating a construction project, you could count on 4 things:
- He would always be late. If he said he’d be there on Monday at 6 pm, you could count on seeing him the following Saturday at 2:59 am. He also won’t call to let you know until Monday at 6:35 that he won’t be there.
Translation: things will probably (definitely) take longer than you originally thought. If you can have that expectation up front, it can help tremendously when the tile is back ordered, the store no longer carries that brand, or the paint wasn’t matched correctly.
- He will be expensive. He’ll order a salad, then halfway through decide that he’d actually really like a steak, some spuds, garlic bread, and a glass of the oldest finest wine. Oh, and don’t forget the creme brulee!
-Translation: estimating jobs costs is TRICKY. Do your homework to determine a good number, then add 10%. Costs can change on materials partway through your project, you may need more than you originally thought, or surprises may pop up.
- He will be full of surprises (and not the good kind). Just when you thought the date couldn’t go any worse, he’ll lightly mention that he was incarcerated once, but that it wasn’t his fault. Just ask the parole officer he had before the current one.
-Translation: there will always be something that wasn’t accounted for. If it’s an older home, you may run into asbestos, lead-based paint, rot or termite damage. Any number of hiding surprises can mess with your budget and your timeline, especially when opening up walls. In new builds, land use, utilities, excavation and the like.
- You’ll want to see him again. Sure it was a rough date, but you learned so much about yourself! There’s something kind of sweet about this guy, and you just can’t wait to see him again. Maybe you’ll even introduce him to your parents or go on a trip upstate…
-Translation: projects are addictive. Once you get in there, get your hands dirty, and come out the other side with more knowledge and skill, you’ll be itching to try your hand at the next big thing. The more success you have, the bigger challenges you’ll be willing to take on the next time around!
TV has ruined us for real life. It can make it seem like projects can be done in 20 minutes for $20 (or that true love can be found in one season). Manage your expectations at the front end of your project, take it in stages, and don’t be afraid to try something new, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy relationship with a construction project.
If you are hiring a contractor for your project, you can check out our free guide, 5 Red Flags When Hiring a Contractor. And the great thing? A good contractor is like a third-wheel on the date. They’ll have great communication, help you come up with a realistic budget, know how to handle those surprises, and establish a great working relationship for years to come.