Waiting on a Worker

Anybody know the song,”waiting on a woman” by Brad Paisley? Well change the words to “waiting on a worker” and you’ll understand my life a bit better right now. 

We were supposed to have a clean house, new windows, and complete trim by last week so we could close on the 31st, but alas. I sit on the stairs- the only place to sit other than the floor- as I write and spend my time wisely as… you guessed it, 

I’m waiting on a worker. 

And I’m fine with it. Cause I want to have a good nice complete house. Not a house that’s rushed or hurried and slopped together.  Good work takes time. So get comfy in your temporary housing.  

Custom building is its own beast. Nobody has built this home before so it takes a LOT of your personal time to get your home the way you want it. Be patient. 

Here are some pointers so you don’t have to force your subcontractors to do the job all over again. 

10 Tips to not make your Subs Hate You. 

  1. Pictures. Pinterest is your friend. The more the better. Highlight and circle the areas you like and sharpee X out the areas of the photo you don’t. Tape that on the wall. Nail it to the rafters. 
  2. Written Instructions. Write it down. Explain it in words you’d use for a toddler. Not as an insult- but so anyone can read it and you’re not using a term someone has never heard of. #languagebarrier #googletranslator
  3. Leave Your Phone Number. Some contractors will prefer to call the boss, and thats fine. But when the boss doesn’t answer his phone (or is on vacation) they can call you to get the 5$ fix that’s holding up your construction project. Write those digits on the walls of you have to. 
  4. Get their digits. Ask for their phone number. Not like you’re ever gonna need it. But tell them you want a card to refer them.  They will smile so much bigger at you. Instead of the “oh shit she’s here” face. 
  5. Be Present. Show up. Daily if you can. At different times of the day. Check on the progress. That way they can fix mistakes on site before they move on to another task.  
  6. Ask them their opinion. Even if you don’t plan on using it, asking someone their opinion can make them feel valued and included. You always want to make subcontractors feel valued and smart. Even if they’re the biggest blockhead you’ve ever met. They’ll do better work if they’re happy. 
  7. Be honest. If you don’t like the stain color. Say it. Don’t beat around the bush. Cause I  guarantee they don’t like half the things you’re asking them to do. So just be up front and get what you want. 
  8. Make jokes. If someone doesn’t laugh the first time then stop. But once you break that awkward “you work for me” silence with a hardy-har-har it will be easier to coexist in a space together. 
  9. Dance to their music. Whenever my two year old comes out with me we jam to whatever tunes are currently being played. Even if it’s death metal. And even if you’re plotting their death for punching a hole in your Sheetrock. They’ll fix it. Swearsies.  
  10. Bring treats. Not more than once per contractor. But bring treats to these guys. It boosts their morale, and once again gets you on their good side. My personal fave to bring is gatorades and single serving size snacks. I tried donuts and they looked at me like I had no idea what I’m doing. And then proceeded to make a construction dust/sprinkle pun. 

I hope these pointers help you ease your way into a few discounts! Lord knows saving $20 still goes a long way in the grand scheme of building. 

 Bottom line- fake it till you make it. Act like their your best friend and then move on and air your frustrations to your friends who (don’t really) care but will listen anyway. 

One side note** if you feel you are being cheated or getting crappy work- call your contractor IMMEDIATELY. They don’t want to get you angry either. 
Happy Building!



One thought on “Waiting on a Worker

  1. Love your blog, Marti! I wish blogging had been a thing when we built our house, 2002-03. All 18+ months of it…. You are spot on about getting phone numbers, bringing treats, joking, etc. My favorite memory was coming in when the painters were staining & varnishing the cabinets – lots of dancing going on – high as kites!! Hangeth thou in there – one day soon it will be worth it!


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