You’ve decided it’s time to upgrade that old house, and you’re excited. At this point, many homeowners begin inviting contractors over to see if the pros can make the owner’s dream into a reality. What’s that? Most of the contractors left before you felt like they understood what you wanted? Half of them never sent you a bid like they said they would? It might be because you aren’t quite ready to partner with a builder just yet.

In this industry, contractors spend large amounts of their time, and rack up quite the gasoline bill, driving trucks around to visit homeowners who are just not prepared for the questions the contractor must ask. Rather than causing frustration to yourself and your local professionals, make sure you can answer these four questions before calling in that free estimate.

1. What is my home right now, and what do I want it to become?

This is Metric Contracting’s method for identifying a customer’s big-picture goal. This is how we convert your home. We encourage our customers to make sure that all of their projects are aimed at accomplishing one master plan for their home.

Common answers to this question include:

  • My home is too small. I want it to be bigger.
    Solution: Addition or Fix & Sell.
  • My home is not energy-efficient. I want lower utility bills.
    Solution: Energy Audit, HVAC Upgrade, Building-Shell Upgrade
  • My home is too dusty. I want it to be hypo-allergenic.
    Solution: HVAC Upgrade, Flooring Upgrade
  • My home is ugly. I want it to be beautiful.
    Solution: Get creative & let’s make it happen!

2. What is my budget?

For every home improvement project, the cost can range from surprisingly low to astronomical. Customers often have a short conversation with a contractor, part ways happily expecting an e-mail bid, only to be offended at the outrageous price proposed. “Who does he think we are?,” customers may ask.

The way to avoid this frustration is to just be up front about financial constraints. Metric operates on strict financial guidelines, and we encourage our customers to do the same. The last thing we want to do is push a customer beyond their means. The result will only be regret, an unhappy customer, and stress for all involved.

Once you have identified a master plan for your home by answering the first question, be honest about your current financial means. Metric will be glad to help you know what part of that plan we can accomplish for you now and what parts may need to wait until later.

3. What construction examples inspire me?

We’ve all walked into a home or a business and experienced the peacefulness of a beautiful, comfortable, and functional structure. Your contractor needs to see what you’ve seen and to be inspired by what inspires you. It’s time to pick up your phone, not to call the pros yet, but to take pictures of those things you want your builder to specifically have in mind through the creation of your project.

For an even larger design repertoire, jump on any number of the social media websites which promote the photographic sharing of unique window decor ideas, recycled pallet kitchen cabinets, plates of food, and #lifehacks. Gather examples ideas into a digital archive, and be prepared to share it with the builder of your choice.

4. Do I see my contractor as a person or a product?

Construction is incredibly difficult work. Builders are imperfect people working with imperfect tools to assemble imperfect materials. You will have the best experience with any contractor you hire if you keep the person in view before the product. Realize that both of you are on the same side working for the three elements of a successful job: a fantastic product, a satisfied customer, and a fair price.

Metric Contracting makes every effort to be generous in our work, leaving flexibility for customer’s to make last-minute changes, looking for opportunities to exceed expectations. The customer who is ready to hire a contractor is ready to treat their contractor with the same generosity they hope to receive.

I think I’m ready! Now how do I find a good contractor?