Writing your brief for a contractor

When it comes to hiring a contractor, it pays to be prepared – and having a brief written out ready will clarify what you want, in a step-by-step, top-to-bottom plan. A brief will ensure you and your contractor both know exactly what is required and will save you both valuable time and money.

be clear on what you want when hiring a contractorLast week we looked at working on a mood board (if you haven’t yet read that blog, you can do so here). Once you’ve created your mood board (and style board if you’re using one), you can start looking for contractors to complete the work – and it starts with writing your brief. So what’s the best way to get started?

#1: Be clear in your own mind

Knowing what you want and the ideal end results you’re after will enable you to get straight to the point with your contractor.

#2: What’s your goal?

You can start your brief by writing a brief overview of what you want and when you want to achieve it by.

#3: Be realistic

Be realistic over both what you can achieve on your budget and on the quality of work. Remember, you may not be able to get a good contractor in straight away – so be prepared to wait or to factor in the potential losses of your impatience.

#4: Think of the whole room and break it down into sections

Think of the room you want to decorate as separate sections – so think ceiling to floor:

think of the room from top to bottom#4a: Ceiling:

Does it need painting? Is so, I’d recommend you factor in using a good quality coverage, such as Dulux trade white emulsion.

Do you have coving? Does it need replacing, repairing or do you actually want it removed? Be specific!

#4b: Lighting:

Do you have an overhead pendant light? Do you want it replaced? Maybe it’s not central and needs moving? If so, remember you’ll also need an electrician too.

Do you have another layer of lighting – for example, wall lights? Do you need them moved or wiring put in for them – again, you’ll need that electrician?

Lighting adds drama and ambience, so you may even have accent lighting – such as table and floor lights. Do need just the shade replaced or the entire light updated? Can you make a new shade or will you be looking to buy at somewhere like TK Maxx, Dunelm, John Lewis or Home Sense?

#4c: Flooring:

Does your carpet need replacing or are you looking to have it deep cleaned? Are you buying a new carpet or looking to have a wooden floor fitted? You need to look at available options now, so you can schedule in floor fitters and/or carpet cleaners after the contractor has finished.

Tip: If you’re keeping the existing flooring, make sure to include floor protection in your brief!

#4d: Walls:

check the condition of your wallsAre you looking to use paint or have them papered? What brands and colours are you using? Make sure to specify them in your brief. (I’d recommend Little Green Paint – an excellent choice of colours and coverage) http://littlegreene.com

What’s the condition of the walls – are their chips and dents? If you’re replacing wallpaper remember, there may well be lots of preparation – as work depends on the overall condition of the walls underneath the paper.

If your walls are plasterboard, they may need skimming over again, if the condition of them warrants it – so make sure to factor this into your brief too.

#4e: Woodwork:

What condition are your skirting boards, window sills, door frames and doors? Are you looking at need replacing or repainting? Again, I’d recommend a Satin Wood White.

When it comes to writing your brief, remember to think of the amount of work involved, as well as the amount of contractors needed to complete the project. Write out the numbered points to prepare you for when you talk through with your chosen contractors.

If you need guidance on choosing paint colours for your latest project, why not sent me over an email and claim a free 30 minute Skype call with me – and let’s see if we can get you some clarity and colour choices!

Images © Maksym Yemelyanov, visivasnc & Kadmy/Dollar Photo Club

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