How To Get Your Money’s Worth When Working With A Contractor
Working with a contractor is very different than working with an internal employee. With an employee, you have far more control over the way your project is handled. With a contractor, you’re hiring a person or another company in which you rely on to do their best work, unsupervised, give you updates on the status of your project, and provide a result in a time and cost efficient manner.
Many entrepreneurs are in business because they want to control their own success and results. But this control is challenged when hiring a contractor who provides you a service and works for themselves.
On the other hand, contractors can provide the best quality work because of their great knowledge in their specific field and their experience working with many other businesses.
Here are five ways that you can be sure to get your money’s worth when working with a contractor on a specific project.
- Keep Your Word – You are a person of integrity, but things can get overwhelming. A contractor will often need open communication, timely responses to their requests, and accurate information, in order to best complete your project.It is very important for you, the client, to provide this information that your contractor has asked for so they can do their best. But what is more important is for you to keep your word on anything you may promise.
Your promises affect the timeline of your project and can impact your costs. Your contractor is relying on you for the most accurate and up to date information so they can properly give you time and cost estimates.
If a client over-promises and under-delivers, a lack of trust often develops and the contractor becomes leery of your ability to provide accurate and honest communication. (of course, this works both ways)
You will see your contractors best work if you develop a relationship built on trust.
- Trust – Not only is it important for your contractor to trust you, it is also essential to the business relationship when you demonstrate that you trust your contractor.A contractor often works best when they do not have to defend themselves on every decision. Oftentimes you hire a contractor to do a job that you are unskilled at or do not have the time for.
For example, I teach business owners the process of building a business and the tools to get it done. This means I teach business owners, who are not as tech savvy is I am, how to use programs, software, and the Internet to help grow their business. I understand that this is all new to some clients. But you hired me as a trusted advisor; one that will give you my best professional advice and take many things into consideration when making those recommendations.
So after giving a recommendation, when a client says to me, “My friend knows computers and I asked them about what you said,” frankly, I cringe. You have just broken the trust between us.
What you have just said to me is this: “I do not trust you, so I’m going to ask someone else I trust (even though they don’t have the same expertise as you) about what I hired you for.”
Why on Earth did you hire me instead of your “Tech Genius” friend?
It is absolutely acceptable for you to ask your friends or another trusted adviser about the advice you’re getting. However, letting your contractor know this may not be the best decision.
If the second opinion matches your contractor’s advice, then leave things alone and know that the trust between you and your contractor has just been strengthened.
If the opinions differ, an appropriate response would be too let your contractor know, “I don’t understand why we’re doing it this way. Can you please explain it to me again?” This will show your contractor that you trust them and they will be more willing to work with you further.
- Read Your Contract – Staying within the bounds of your agreement will allow your contractor to provide the service you have invested in without taking away focus for additional requests or explanations on why a particular request is not covered.It is absolutely acceptable to make requests, as long as you understand they may be quoted and billed separately.
Having a written agreement when working with a contractor is a critical piece of your project, setting the boundaries of what is covered and what is not.
- Respect Their Time – Contractors may have other clients that they need to tend to, therefore, respecting their time is critical.Yes, your contractor is there to provide a service to you, but there are some things you can do to make both of your lives easier.
If you have many questions and it’s not an emergency, write them down and ask all of your questions at one time. This will allow both of you to schedule one meeting to take care of all the issues at hand.
Do the same thing when writing emails to your contractor. Combine a few questions into one email instead of sending multiple emails that will clog up your contractor’s inbox.
Do not include your contractor on internal emails that are not relevant to the work they’re providing you. We’re all busy people and no one wants to get more e-mail than they already do, especially if it’s not relevant.
- They Are Not Your Employee – This can be a difficult thing for business owners to understand and abide by, especially since we like to be in control of our businesses.However, you must remember that your contractor is in business for themselves and micromanaging will keep them from doing their best work. As a contractor, it is difficult to work with the micromanaging client because it signals a lack of trust and takes focus away from other clients they might have.
Not to mention, there are rules and regulations in each state regarding the boundaries between a contractor and an employee which can have an affect on your tax liabilities. I’m not an accountant, so please talk to your accountant for clarification.
Remember, you hired your contractor to do a job in which you are unskilled, unqualified, or lack the time to complete yourself. Allow your contractor to do his or her job, providing them with your trust, respect, and integrity, and you will almost always get their best work.
Contractors are not always the cheapest option, but they are highly skilled and qualified in their line of work. Follow these five recommendations above and you will get your money’s worth and return on investment when hiring a contractor.