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Right Team, Right Dream

Caleb and Alice Pearson, of Pearson + Projects, are adamant it’s the team that can make or break you and your project.

By: Caleb Pearson

19 February 2024

Having a vision but the wrong people to deliver it can become a nightmare. Getting the right people involved will help a project run smoothly and to plan, take away concerns and may produce better outcomes than you had in mind.

When purchasing and owning property, there will inevitably come a time when you need help, be it for maintenance, renovations or even a new build or extension. Working with tradespeople brings great benefits but also carries risk.

The obvious benefit is you can leverage the experience and skill of someone to deliver a project or service. But there are many other benefits they provide off the tools, through communication, approach and understanding your goals.

What I consider makes a great contractor or consultant stand out is when they start adding value to your project, not just doing what is standard. Coming up with creative ideas, alternative options, and helping you to achieve your goal in a more efficient manner.

The Pearsons specialise in turning tired homes like this into dream homes.

The key attributes we focus on when we select our team are:

Reliability. When they commit to something, they do it. We can trust what they say and know they will be up front with us.

Delivery of results. They have the necessary expertise/experience in their field to competently deliver to the standards we (and external regulations) require.

Understanding our goals and vision. We have a vision we want to achieve with our projects. We need to articulate this clearly and need our team to understand this and work with us to achieve it.

Competitive. While the above is essential, it’s hard to select someone if you know their quote is not competitive. We want to know we are not being taken advantage of on pricing.

Interior transformations require a team of hardworking experts.

Learning Curve

For us, the best outcome is to have a team of tradespeople we regularly use who have all the key characteristics we are after. They understand the expectations, how you operate, work well together and you can trust them to get the job done right without having to babysit them. We have been fortunate to have been through multiple renovations and worked with many contractors and consultants. These have provided many learning experiences (good and bad) and in due course we have built relationships with key tradespeople and suppliers we can rely on.

We have also worked with people who we definitely would not go back to; the type that twist a verbal agreement into suiting them and ripping you off, getting away with doing the minimum possible, taking shortcuts, and some who just weren’t enjoyable to work with.

For most, a renovation is an infrequent event, so how do you make sure you select the right team without having contacts or having worked with tradespeople before? And how do you make sure you don’t get ripped off or costs escalate?

It does vary on the size and complexity of the project you are working on, but here are a few tips.

Use contractors you trust, or seek referrals and recommendations.
  • Background check. While you may know the builder you are contemplating hiring, others would have dealt with them. Research their background, work they have done and are capable of, and importantly, look at feedback on their work. Is it bad, mixed, positive? For larger projects, I recommend checking their completed and current jobs and talking to their past and existing clients. Do your research.
  • Meet and talk. Get your contractors onsite, talk through the work required of them and make sure they understand it. An external house painter quoting on a few pictures and area of a house may not see the real condition and prep required.
  • Provide a clear scope of works and any conditions you want included. This makes it clear what is being priced, avoids disagreements and allows you to compare apples with apples if you have multiple quotes. If you’re doing serious works, then it’s recommended you get consultants to assist (preparing drawings, specifications, etc).
  • Create an agreement. Make sure you have a written agreement both parties accept, which includes scope of works, timing, any conditions (ie time of payments, retentions) and any inclusions or exclusions. The more detailed, the more certainty and clarity you will have.
Talk through the work on site, so your contractor can view, comment and price the work accurately before they start.

Trust Factor

A great example of having the right team was when we were on The Block NZ. With the time constraints, tradies constantly working over each other in confined spaces and with the demands of working on what was effectively a production set, it was critical to have the right team.

We needed people we could trust, rely on and consistently deliver our requests and expectations, which were very demanding. But regardless of scale and the amount of people you work with, the benefits of a good team contribute to the success of the project and how smoothly it runs.

Have a clear and detailed plan to remove miscommunication and remove the need for assumptions.
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