How to Approach a Project Started By Another Contractor

Sometimes homeowners will contact you about a particular project that is half way completed. Usually the owner is unhappy with the work their current designer or contractor is doing and will ask you to take over and complete the project. In order to start construction again, most firms will evaluate the existing conditions, request any additional permits, purchase materials if needed, and then begin construction.

Landis Architects and Builders performed “house rescues” a few times and offered some insight on what homeowners might be looking for the second time around.

If the client did not understand the extent of the structural issues of removing walls, they may ask to see “as-built” drawings of the existing home, a similarly scaled project you have completed in the past, and possibly formal licensing as proof you have the experience needed to complete their project.
Sometimes the previous contractor misinforms the client. In one of Landis’ cases, the contractor gave permission to remove an existing deck and promised to build a new one, but zoning would not allow a new deck to be built. The client in this case might ask how much experience you have with the local zoning regulations or if you have served on zoning or code committees.

Other general tips Landis suggests is to have a professional office to hold client meetings, have a website presence, catch up on your reviews on Google+, Angie’s List, and Houzz, and ensure your past clients are satisfied. The firm also states to keep in touch with the client even if they don’t choose you for the cleanup, because in some instances they will come back.

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