‘Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.’ John C. Maxwell.
Your team can make or break you. Like this quote implies, you may have a great vision – but without the right team, that vision will become a nightmare. To avoid that, you need to make sure you get the right people on board with you so that the vision of your renovation or project ends up as the picture you had in mind.
In our last Blog (Teamwork Makes the Dream Work) Alice shared about how to work well as a couple. Whilst many projects can be achieved solely on your own, or with your partner, renovations often require external help to complete. This may be an architect or engineer to design a house extension, a planner to get your resource consent through, or most commonly tradespeople to carry out those services that you don’t have the time or skill to carry out. Other less common services may be manufactures, suppliers and real estate agents. If you are regularly doing projects there will become a time when you need to engage external services to help you achieve your project, especially where work requires to be signed off by a licensed practitioner.
Getting tradespeople on board provides great benefits but also brings risks. Benefits include the obvious results of getting things accomplished a whole lot quicker than you can achieve on your own and providing a finished product that meets your expectation – with quality, timeframes and price. But they also add benefits in more intangible ways, when you can trust and rely on your team it makes your project less stressful; they are proactive when it comes to challenges, providing answers not just presenting the issue. And what I think makes a great contractor or consultant on your team is over just being good, is when they start adding value. Not just doing what you expect of them, but coming up with creative ideas, alternative options, and help you to achieve your goal in a more efficient manner.
The key attributes which we focus on when we select our team are:
- Reliable. When they commit to something, they will do it. We can trust what they say and will be up front with us.
- Deliver results. They have the necessary expertise/ experience in their field to competently deliver to the standards we are after.
- Understand our vision. We have an end vision we want to achieve with our projects. The key players need to understand our vision and work with us to achieve this.
- Competitive. Whilst the above are essential, its hard to select someone if you know there quote is not competitive. We want to know we are not getting taken advantage of with pricing.
For us, the best outcome is to have a team of tradespeople we regularly use who have all the key characteristics we are after. They understand the expectations you have, how you operate, work well together and you can trust them to get the job done right without having to babysit them. We have been fortunate to have been through multiple renovations providing many learning experiences (both good and bad) and in due course built relationships with key tradespeople and suppliers we can rely on. But also worked with people who we definitely would not go back to, the type that twist a verbal agreement into suiting them and ripping you off, get away with doing the minimum possible, take shortcuts and also some who just aren’t enjoyable to work with.
For most, a renovation is an infrequent event, so how do you make sure you select the right team without having contacts or having worked with trades people before? And how do you make sure you don’t get ripped off or costs escalating? It does vary on the size and complexity of the project you are working on, but here are a few of our tips:
- Background Check. Whilst you may know the builder you are contemplating hiring, others would have dealt with them. Research their background, what work they have done and capable of, and importantly look at feedback on their work. Is it bad, mixed, positive? If you are looking at a large value contract , I would suggest going to check their completed and current jobs and talking to their past and existing clients. Do your research!
- Meet and talk through. Get your contractors on to site, talk through the work required of them and make sure they understand it. An external house painter quoting on a few pictures and area of a house, may not see the real condition and prep required.
- Provide a clear scope of works. When I want to engage a consultant or contractor when I don’t have existing relationships, you need to provide a clear summary on the works for them to provide a quote on. This makes it clear what is being priced, avoids arguments later, and allows you to compare apples for apples if you have multiple quotes. If you’re doing any serious works, then it’s strongly recommended you have some construction drawings prepared to include in your scope.
- Create an agreement. Make sure you have a written agreement both parties accept, which include the scope of works, timing, any conditions (i.e., timing of payments) and any inclusions or exclusions. The more detailed, the more certainty you have and the less risk you expose yourself to.
From our renovations, the importance of the right team was the most important when we were on The Block NZ. With the time constraints, tradies constantly working over each other in confined spaces and with the demands of working on what was effectively a production set - it was critical to have the right team. We were fortunate that we selected a winning team. We could trust them, rely on them and they delivered consistently with our requests and expectations – which were very demanding. The outcome of great teamwork helped us achieve a finished house we were extremely proud of and exceeded our expectations. Choose your team wisely, the benefits of a good team contribute to the success of the project and can make it a much more enjoyable process.
A few of our favourite tradespeople we enjoy working with (Auckland based) and love to recommend are:
Steel Plumbing – Josh Steel - 0800 FIX H2O - www.facebook.com/steelplumbingnz
Pro-Spec Electrical – Steve Solley - 021 1846859 - www.pro-spec.co.nz
Kingdom Builderz – Keegan Bartholomew - 027 KINGDOM
Selah Renovations – 0508866253 – www.selahrenovations.co.nz