You’ve hired the contractor for a full-scale kitchen remodel. The contractor is fully on-board. Then you say, “Oh, by the way, my nephew Larry is a plumber. I want you to use him.”

Truth: As Leah Cole notes, “To me, a contractor’s most important asset is his network of tradesmen.” The contractor is a facilitator at the center of a vast group of tradesmen or subcontractors (“subs”). He has his go-to people, and he has others in mind as back-ups. Almost as important, he has a blacklist of subs he won’t work with, this list forged from years of hard knocks.

By using your uncle to install HVAC, he would be working with someone with whom he has no established relationship. Second, he is depriving work from a group of subs who may depend on him for steady work. Third, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not taking advantage of a group of men that he knows can get the job done.

They Don’t Like Reusing Your Old Stuff

Before/After kitchen remodel - remove knotty pine cabinets
CC-Licensed; Flickr User: Sitka Projects

You just love those knotty pine kitchen cabinets from 1952. So vintage! So romantic and evocative of a mountain cabin! You ask your contractor to pull, refurbish, and reuse them with the remodel.

Truth: One problem with old things–cabinets in particular–is that they may hold up while in place, but fall apart upon removal. Old things have that tendency. Wood flooring cannot be easily removed and reused. Old leaded-glass windows look cool but are impractical. 

If you do want to reuse an item, factor in the added time and cost (to you) that it will take to shop it out to a qualified professional.  

Contractors aren’t meanies about this; they just know that homeowners often don’t understand the implications of reusing items. Rather than being a money-saver, it can add more cost than the homeowner expected.