Do you *tip* your contractor?

I don’t really mean tip, but if he’s done a really good job fixing up your place what can you do to thank him and his team? (other than paying the final invoice on time!)

We live in the UK and bought a cottage in Canada last summer. It needed some fixing up particularly as the loft master bedroom wasn’t tall enough for hubby. So we had to start with raising the roof, which of course spiralled into a job where I’m not sure there’s an original piece of construction material left. As luck would have it I have a cousin who is a very good architect, retired now, and he’s been doing all the ground work getting the job done while we admire the photographs from across the pond and dream about lovely things in the Pottery Barn catalogue.

The job is almost done and the guys have done a great job often in some very cold Canadian winter conditions.

So what do we do next? Do we buy the contractor wine? Take him for dinner? Throw a barbecue for the crew or just shake the boss’s hand and say thanks. Any ideas?

Probably to late for this, but I make sure there is coffee in the morning, and sodas/ice tea available.

Keeping your stuff out of the way is a big one too. I’ll also help when I can, and am home. I do a lot of this stuff myself, so I can actually be of assistance and not be in the way when they might need it.

A tip at the end of a big job like this. I don’t think so. But, wine, or more likely a case of good beer would be nice (if you know they drink)

I got the low bidder on a bath remodel. He did a super job! When I calculated the hours worked and the amount of the bid, it was less than minimum wage. But, he never mentioned it. He was a single parent. When he completed the work, I gave him a C-note. So, it was about a 25% tip. We were both very happy.

You can give them a bonus if they complete the job on time, with few or no mistakes and under budget. If you want consider that to be a “tip”, then you can.

Tips to a contractor would be weird. It’s not really done in the US, anyway.

Best? If you are happy with his/her work, recommend them enthusiastically to people you know - most good small /independent contractors get all their work from repeat and referral business. Getting referrals and good recommendations is pure gold.

/independent subcontractor.

I didn’t mean tip! That’s why I put ***around the word. It was for want of a better word to ask if there was a good way to say thank you for a job well done or if it was even expected at all. When finished it will have been a big renovation and it seems unfinished to not say thank you in some way. It’s also a long distance build so bringing coffee and other small comforts is not an option.

Good referrals is a good way to start. Thank you.

Caveat: My GC used to be my neighbor, and was a friend of mine long before he did any work for me. We went through Hurricane Wilma together, including sharing food, wine, and other supplies while waiting for power to come back on.

He gave me a great deal on my remodel. It was well understood that I have a lot of friends with enough disposable income that they might be interested in having work done, and that my house was effectively advertising for him to them. So referrals are really big.

I had a big “housewarming” party after the remodel was done, and invited him and a few of his crew. None of the crew showed up, but he did. (Again, he’s a friend anyway…) This was for socializing, not for selling his service. But it helps with making contacts.

The other thing I did was let him pull a few beers off the keg at the end of the day. He and his team worked hard, and if having some cold beer on tap made them happy to be working on my house, I was ok with that.
Obviously scale some of this back if you don’t happen to be friends with your contractor. But the general ideas may apply.

We once paid a contractor more than he charged us on the bill because we thought he didn’t charge enough. There was no bid because it was time and materials. Now I wonder if we insulted him and should have just gotten him a gift certificate or something.

He worked very quickly, did an excellent job, and charged a lot less than our other options.

Contractors have already built their tip into the price.

I can tell you that not only do they not expect tips, but what they really appreciate is a cooperative customer - being quick on your own deliverables, not making late/stupid changes, being in the way, etc. Whatever you can do to make their job easier is a tip, because the easier it is the less time they waste, and time is money.

Better you should tell all your friends about what a great job this guy did, and recommend him for their renovation jobs.