When contractors are at work at home, you like to make sure that you can support them as much as possible in getting the job done and be available for questions. At the same time, you don’t want to be in their way.
You don’t have to be home when contractors are on the job, but you should discuss in advance which rooms they need access to. Also, leave your phone number for queries and lock away any valuables you may have.
Stay Out of the Way and Give Them Contact Information
It is a good idea to be home when contractors are working if you can fit it into your schedule. It is going to be noisy and there will be some interruptions.
Most people feel better being there than with people they don’t know roaming freely around their homes. You have to stay out of the way and you should let them know where in the house you will be in case they need you.
If you can’t be home, give them contact information to reach you. Try to be available if they need anything or it can put the job on hold.
It is also a good idea to just randomly show up at different times to see what they are doing. If you research your contractor well before you hire them, you will feel more at ease with them there when you are or if you have to give them access when you aren’t home.
Before you have any contractor come to your home, put items away. This includes valuables and items that could easily be broken. You don’t want anything lost or damaged. You may worry about items being stolen. When such items are out of sight you have less to worry about.
A reputable contractor is there to do the work, they don’t have any hidden motives but it may give you peace of mind to put those items away.
Be Polite While Setting Boundaries
Do you plan to give them access to the kitchen for drinks? The bathroom? Such courtesies are common with contractor work but you aren’t obligated to let them do so. Most will bring food and drinks with them for break times.
A great way to set boundaries is to close doors to rooms where they won’t need to do anything. You can also lock doors for extra security if you feel uneasy.
What to Say:
“You are welcome to help yourself with drinks in the kitchen while you do the work. There is water, juice, milk, and soda so feel free to get what you like.”
“The bathroom across from where you are working is available if you need to use it while you are working here today.”
Stay Out of the Way
For safety reasons, you have to make sure you stay out of the way. Let the contractor know you will be there when they work.
There may be areas off-limits you can’t access while they are there so plan ahead.
For example, you may not be able to use the bathroom or go into the kitchen. Talk to them about this in advance.
What to Say:
“I plan to be home while the work is done. What is the best place for me to be so I am out of your way?”
“Since I will be here when you work, is there any place I should avoid in the home?”
“I am going to work from home while you complete the project. I will stay out of your way though!”
“Please let me know if you need anything while you complete the job. I will be home while you are there.”
“I understand there won’t be water for part of the time you work in the bathroom. I will plan ahead for that since I will be at home during work.”
Let Them Know Where You Will Be
If the contractor needs to talk to you, they should know where in the home you will be. They aren’t going to feel comfortable just roaming around to look for you. In a larger home, it can be harder for them to find you if you don’t point it out.
As a courtesy, let them know where you will be and that they can come to get you if they need anything.
What to Say:
“I will be downstairs in the first room on the right. If you need anything, feel free to come down and knock on the door.”
“My son and I will stay in his bedroom at the end of the hall while you complete the work.”
“Thanks for taking on this kitchen remodel project. I will be upstairs in my office should you have any questions for me.”
“You aren’t going to know I am here while you work, but if you need me, I will be on the back porch. I have created a makeshift office out there while you do your work inside.”
“I am going to stay at the opposite end of the house from where you are doing the work.”
If you decide to be home while contractors are there, be prepared for some inconveniences.
The scope of the job can determine how noisy it will be and the areas they will access.
Will you be able to go to the kitchen for food? Will you be able to use the bathroom? Such information can influence your decision.
If you get along with your neighbors, you can work out by going to their houses for food or the bathroom.
What to Say:
“How noisy do you think it will be when you do the work? Should I plan to wear earplugs if I am home?”
“Will the kitchen/bathroom be off-limits while you are working? I want to be prepared so I am not trying to access rooms you can’t let me into while you work.”
“How long will this project take? I may take some vacation days or work from home while you complete the job.”
“Do you have a flexible schedule? I would like to be home while the work is done if we can align our schedules for that to happen.”
“Is it realistic I can safely be here while you do the work? If so, which areas should I stay in to be out of the way?”
Contact Information If You Can’t Be Home
The contractor’s length in your home can influence whether you will be there or not. For a project completed in a day or two, it makes sense to try to be there for all of it. If the project will take a week or longer, that may not be possible.
Tell them if you have to go to work or run out for a bit. Make sure they have contact details if you aren’t home.
What to Say:
“I have to work today but this is my office number if you need me for anything.”
“I will be out for a few hours; this is my cell number.”
“I will be home most of the day but I do have to go out for various things throughout the day. Please call me if I am gone and you need anything.”
“I should be home by 2 pm if you have any questions or concerns.”
“I am going to visit my neighbor across the street while you work, but just come get me if you need me.”
Randomly Show Up
It is your home, and you shouldn’t feel uneasy about randomly showing up to see what the contractor is doing at any given time. Of course, you should make sure you are out of their way and that your presence isn’t a safety concern.
When you randomly show up, let them know you are in the home so they aren’t taken by surprise.
What to Say:
“Work was slow so I took the afternoon off. I will stay out of your way but wanted you to know I am in the home.”
“I am just here for lunch and wanted to see how the project is going and if you needed anything.”
“I decided to work from home for the rest of the day. I will be in my office at the end of the hallway.”
“Hi, just popping in to check on everything. I will be back in a few hours.”
“I didn’t mean to interrupt your work, just letting you know I am here for a bit. I will be heading back out soon but I was excited to see the progress!”
“My schedule changes day to day so I will be in and out at various times.”
It is a good idea to have security cameras at your home for overall protection.
They can be a good resource when you hire a contractor too. They can capture information when you are home and when you aren’t while work is being done.
They show who is coming and going from your home, items brought in and taken out, and other details. Security cameras can be a deterrent for any unethical contractors too.
What to Say:
“We have security cameras at all the entrances/exits to the home. Is that a problem while you work for us?”
“There are security cameras in the home we use for watching pets/children. They are active and I wanted to let you know they will be on while you work in our home.”
“We monitor our home remotely when we aren’t here.”
“Don’t mind the security cameras, please go about your business and take care of what you need for the project.”
“By agreeing to this project you also agree to be recorded by your video cameras set up for security purposes.”
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.