2 Reasons You Should NOT Procrastinate Booking Contractors BEFORE Busy Seasons
#1 - Scheduling: First and foremost, consider your timeline. It may not correspond with the contractor's schedule. The busiest seasons of the year are Spring and Fall. It may be hard to get a home improvement contractor to work within your schedule if you don't book them ahead of time. If you are able to find a contractor that can work within your schedule they are more than likely "fitting you in", and you may risk losing the attention to detail you deserve while paying a "seasonal" price.
#2 - Pricing: There are a couple of main areas where pricing comes into play when considering your seasonal projects.
Supply and demand: It's generally more expensive. Contractor companies can afford to raise prices, because their schedules are already full. If the project is "won", then they are exceeding their margins, if the project is "lost", then no skin off their teeth.
Competition: "it's not us, it's you" If you are experienced in hiring contractors then you probably expect to pay more during the busy seasons. Contractors know this, so they may not be as quick to be competitive with their prices.
What to expect... Upfront booking fee, which is usually a percentage of your estimate. It can be anywhere from 15% to 50%. This is a two-sided benefit to both the contractor and the customer. For the contractor, booking in advance helps with the time management of their projects, so that they can end their projects with satisfied, returning customers. Also, for some contractors, depending on the size of their company, it helps with cash flow to pay their workers. For the customer, booking in advance insures your start date and the timing of your project to go as planned.
Start date delays, Exterior project management can be complicated due to the elements especially during these busy seasons. It's very much appreciated by the contractor that there is some degree of understanding from the customer of this possibility. Another reason for delays may be because the customer(s) scheduled before you might have added to their projects taking more time to finish and pushing your start date back.
Here's what to do. At the time of the estimate, or when you call to book your estimate, ask if an upfront percentage is required. If not, ask why. Worst case scenario, it's because they aren't confident they will be able to keep your scheduled start date. Sadly, even at times not even show up.
You deserve to know what to expect from your contractor. Ask what their policy is for delays. What kind of communication or advanced notice you should expect from them in the event there will be a delay. In turn, take into consideration when your project in process that adding services may cause other customers delays and see if you can just schedule the extra work at another time.