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Designing With Contractors

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

After being asked what the benefits are of membership to local Chamber of Commerce and obtaining a contractor license, I decided to write in the blog... and you all know writing in the blog is my least favorite thing to do when it comes to operating Beautifully Done! lol Note I have listed the two major problem areas we designers have with working with a contractor...

Let me begin with; YES you should belong to your local Chamber of Commerce. And, follow with; if all of your remodel projects are under $2,000 you don't need any license other than your business license for the state you work in, BUT... you definitely will need a good working relationship with your contractor. IF any of your remodel projects are over $2,000 (which would be if you are hiring a floor crew, or painters for clients) you definitely need to finish this post! If you do not have a contractor's license for projects over $2,000 the state (in Arkansas) can and will fine you and can actually prosecute you with a class A felon. Bet you didn't know that, well neither did I...

Sometimes the hardest part of designing is working with contractors. With that said, it bodes well to rely heavily on their expertise, if you do not have a contractor's license. I usually respond to installation questions from clients "I am a designer, my expertise is in symmetry of size and color, let me ask the floor installer (or whatever is being installed) as they do this all day everyday." It is not only wise to admit you didn't get your degree in floor installation (or whatever) but allows the client to learn with you. I do this regardless if I know the answer to their question or not, as it helps build a better client relationship.

#1. Contractors sometimes look to the most profitable solutions instead, of acknowledging a great design and budget friendly idea. What is our number one job as a designer? PROTECTING OUR CLIENT.

We, as designers have all these beautiful ideas, and they look fabulous in CAD, right? After all, we think outside the box! We see what can be, while others see what is. With that said, let me share with you what I call our installers "The No Men or Women" lol. Mainly because they have the expertise in that field (from flooring to plumbing) to already having an inclination of the problems and/or probability of our designs being implemented...right?

#2 Contractors sometimes spread themselves and their team way to thin and their timelines and yours might not line up. For instance if they have over booked their team...guess who pays for that? Your client firstly, and you ultimately... in reputation of your time line with clients and that can cost you a good on line review. You can have the best contractor in your area, but if he/she isn't putting your projects as priority, you might as well kiss your earned good review goodbye.

Ultimately, the best way to do remodels is obtaining your own contractor license and hiring the most qualified workers in your area and being open to their expertise in what ever field of construction they are known for. The cost of workmen's comp yearly, along side other things that come along with that license, it might not be worth your while. IF you are fortunate enough to be in business with a contractor, it will save you tons of work and worry. BUT again, you will make less money than you would with your own license.

For most design companies (if in the state of Arkansas) a Residential Arkansas Contractor along side a Business Law License is what your company needs. If you are building new constructions you definitely will need a full NASCLA commercial contractor license. You can still sell your floor plans to contractors without a contractor's license, but you cannot contract workers to implement those designs without one. To keep that license you need to have workmen's comp in place.

~Trish Whitsell

Was this post helpful? Did it make you think? Maybe help you make a better decision on obtaining a new license for your business?

I hope this little bit of information is helpful, and I wish someone would have helped me when I first started my business to maneuver through all the legalities of remodels as that is what we are trained to actually do, right? Just tell yourself, moving forward (and we should ALWAYS be moving forward) I will have all of the above in place. I believe in the power of words. They can either destroy a person, or they can build them up. I say everyday, I deserve to be successful and know you truly do too. Now, say it "I deserve to be successful."

Remember, Life Is More Fun, When It Is Beautifully Done!

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