I wrote a post at the very start of hiring our first grading contractor that I never published. It was a frustrated musing about how to manage a contractor who is not showing up and how Dan and I instinctively react and respond very differently to the same problem.

Dan’s day job is in project management, in a high stress environment, juggling way too many projects, so of course it’s difficult being project manager of yet another extremely multipronged project (even his own)! From the sidelines I want to jump in and manage this all myself of course, because it was going so poorly, but feared due to the construction lingo I would misunderstand or not fully understand all the things the contractor said or asked regarding our project. Probably silly excuses on my part and it was easier to criticize than take over, as he would’ve appreciated!

We argued frequently about how to communicate with a contractor who was not showing up, seemingly taking advantage of our patience and was simply not fulfilling his project scope by miles. After too many delays and price increases, we finally let this guy go, paid what we owed and hired someone new to pick up the mess he left. It turns out Dan and I argued because we hired a bad contractor, not because either of us was managing him wrong. It’s so easy to finger point when things are going poorly, “if you had just told him “x”, “if you had pushed back harder on “y”. We can already see the difference it makes working with someone who is communicative, honest, eager to work and honors his project scope. Not to mention we are so relieved to forgive ourselves for all the things we thought we were doing wrong! It turns out the constant friction between us and our contractor was not normal as we thought (we were frequently told this is just how contractors behave). It just took finding the right fit and everything aligned, so don’t be afraid to let someone go if it simply isn’t working!

Before/In Progress below: