The wonderful world of home renovation can be a confusing one. With the rise of the insta-home, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be able to tell the difference between reality and a staged photo.

It looks so easy when a 60 second time-lapse shows how one person was able to transform their plain living room into a panelled wall of dreams but we don’t see the mistakes, we don’t know about this person’s background in construction and we certainly don’t hear the colourful language that may appear when something doesn’t go quite right.
It all just seems a little too perfect.
Olive & Umber are here to help in any way we can, offering advice through our website, blog and socials. If you have absolutely no idea where to start when it comes to improving your home, we highly recommend seeking the help of a professional. Some parts of a project like this are both difficult and possibly dangerous, so we definitely advise utilising expert help.
If you also don’t know where to start when it comes to hiring the aforementioned professional help, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should be on the look out for when choosing a building contractor.

1. Past Work

This is probably quite an obvious one, but a tip nonetheless! Check out your potential contractors social media, be on the look out for any mentions in online forums and even just request further information from the contractor themselves about any work they’ve completed previously. At O&U we offer the option to be put in touch with past clients of ours who have already worked with us and are happy to share their experience.

2. Customer Service

Using the power of the internet, check your contractor’s social media presence to see how they interact with their clients. Have comments been left without a response? Does that tell you that this particular contractor isn’t as responsive as you may need? Have they responded to less than positive comments in an unnecessarily negative way? Does it feel like a follower is bothering the contractor by asking questions via social media? It’s so important in this day and age to have good internet etiquette, there’s no excuse to not have the same level of service you claim to provide flow through every channel of communication that you have.

3. What Do They Offer?

It’s really important to make sure that the types of contractors you’re contacting not only offer the type of work you’re looking to have done, but also check to see if they have any specialist services that might help you with your renovation journey. For example, at O&U have a Design & Build offer that we’re super proud of, it’s for anyone at the beginning of their journey, without any architect plans that are looking for the simplest way to go about a home improvement project. Keeping everything all under one roof is a really good way to streamline the process without compromising on quality.

4. Ask For Advice

You may decide to do a large chunk of the work yourself and getting the professionals in to do the more skilled parts that would be unsafe for someone not in the industry to do. In this case, it’s worth asking your contractor if their is a service they might offer where you can pick their brain and just make sure you’re on the right track. O&U offer consultancy packages for this very situation. We appreciate that not everyone is able to go for a full project managed service and some might just prefer to go down the DIY route but sometimes a bit of expert advice and guidance is all you need to give yourself that push. Our consultancy packages come at different levels depending on the amount of support you feel you may need – you can find out more information about this on our website!

5. Trust Your Gut

We’ve preached this many a time on the O&U blog. You should feel excited about your home project and your contractor should only build up you enthusiasm. If you have a contractor on side who isn’t giving you a good feeling or you don’t feel listened to, we’d recommend maybe looking at other options. Trusting your contractor is absolutely vital and if you’re already not getting a good feeling when you’re just in the enquiry stage, we’d recommend spending your time more wisely elsewhere.
A bonus tip, just do your research! A home project can cost a big chunk of change and not only this, is incredibly time consuming – you’re potentially causing quite a disruption to your home life. It’s better to over research than go in totally blind!
If you’ve got a project on the horizon that you would like to discuss with us, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email to and one of our experts will be in touch to go through your plans and ideas.