Perfect is in the Eye of the Beholder

Perfection is defined as: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence. Well, that’s just wonderful! By who’s perception of accuracy, much less excellence? My perception of perfection may be totally different than yours. How would one know if what they view as perfect is the same as what another would view as perfect? For instance, you take your car in for a brake job. You pick the car up and the brakes squeal, so you take the car back. The mechanic takes the car out for a test drive. He comes back and says, “The car stops on a dime. The brakes are perfect”. So, to the auto mechanic the brakes are perfect, but to you they are far from it. Here’s another example. You decide it’s time for a “new doo” so you run off to your local hair stylist. You expect to come out looking like Jennifer Aniston, but come out looking like Lady GaGa. Now to you this hairstyle is “God awful”, but to the young “just cleared twenty” hairstylist doing the cutting, it is beautiful! In fact, it’s perfect! lol This is fun. Let’s take this to remodeling. You have the bathroom tile changed out. The contractor promises a good job and you did check his references. When he completes the project the grout joints are not equal and the tiles are not level in some areas. You are not happy at all! To you the job is lousy! When you confront him about what you perceive as poor quality he replies that the job is beautiful. You explain that surely this is not how the tile is supposed to look. He responds that this is the way it is done where he is from and he does all his jobs this way. In fact in his mind the job is …………………….you got it! Perfect! So what is perfect and what is not? How do you make sure you are getting what you expect?
Communication is the key. A quality remodeler will have a well planned construction process which should spell out exactly what the homeowner should expect throughout the project. The process should explain the entire procedure from the first phase of the initial consultation to the final phase of finishing the project and clean up. Talk to your remodeler about what you expect. If you have any other expectations or concerns have it added to the initial agreement.
Documentation helps to clarify any confusions in communications. Use architectural plans, 3D renditions, photos and other visual aids to help finalize any questions that need clarity. A picture speaks a thousand words could not be truer. If you have photos of what you expect have them as part of the initial agreement. If your contractors overall quality does not meet your expectations you will have something concrete to use in your defense.
Finally, any quality contractor will have include a specification sheet as part of the initial agreement. The specification sheet spells out exactly what is being done on the project. A good specification sheet should spell out everything from grade of countertop to number of coats of paint to be applied. Thousands of dollars can be lost by homeowners caught off guard by hidden remodel expenses not included by remodeling contractors. A good specification sheet helps remove these hidden costs. A material description sheet should be part of the specification sheet . This will help clarify items such as material types, color selections, tile selections, etc.
Any good remodeler will provide documents and communicate to help their clients know exactly what is included in the remodeling costs. There are far too many homeowners and business owners getting taken advantage of by poor quality minded or less than honest contractors. It is not your job to create the paperwork needed to back up what you expect. Require this from your remodeling contractor. Don’t get caught being left unhappy with a less than quality project because your remodeler has a less than perfect view of a finished project.

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