What are the qualities of a good contractor?

You’ve just moved into your new home, you’re not sure on the tiny windows, there’s no en suite and you’re lusting over that wall panelling that everyone seems to be doing on TikTok at the moment. You turn to your significant other and utter the two words that has launched a thousand of my guilty pleasure Instagram home accounts, “We’re renovating.”

Renovating your home, whether minor or major, is a huge step and I know can be pretty stressful. One way to alleviate some of the stress, I find, can literally be as simple as being able to have confidence and trust in your contractor to carry out the work, and in order to do this, you need to know what qualities to look out for when hiring a contractor and I’m your fairy renovation godmother who will guide you straight and true.


Starting with one of my favourite traits; vision. You need to know that you’re on the same page as the person you’re trusting to make your plans come alive. You’ll want someone who can visualise and understand each step of the project, all the way up to finished product. I have no time for ‘see how it goes’ these days! I don’t spend my time creating Pintrest boards of herringbone tiling for my contractor to tell me they think standard square tiles would look better! 


We have a mantra at Olive and Umber, communication is key! I know that I would need to know that my contractor has an exceptional level of communication skills. It’s not even always about what they’re communication, but how. If something *touch wood* goes wrong, I’d need to know about it and I would want to be told in a way that doesn’t affect my confidence in the team. That’s why Tom and the team make sure that they’re as contactable as possible while they’re working on your project – even if it’s leaving a message with the office for them to get back to you when they’re free, we are a team of communicators!

Optimistic and Positive

One quality that I definitely think can be overlooked sometimes when looking for a contractor can be someone who has optimism and positivity about the project. If I’m going to be dealing with workmen a lot while my project is underway I’m definitely going to want someone who basically sees a challenge as an opportunity for a solution. We are a nation of ‘but what if this happens’ so I find having someone to answer these questions and put my mind at ease, helps me to not go down the hypothetical rabbit hole!


I think this next characteristic is a unique one that you’re going to want. Say you have your own vision for how you want something to look but you’re not entirely sure how to make it happen maybe a super distinctive tiling job or a quirky kitchen design, you’re definitely going to need an innovative contractor to take the job on for you, right?! I know that I would have to make sure that the contractor I use isn’t afraid to try out new ideas whether it’s mine or theirs. Having someone who can work with me and not against me is so important. This is my home we’re working on, I’m the one living there!


Flexibility is absolutely an attribute that I think you should be looking for, as much as I would love for a project to be super hakuna matata and problem free, it rarely is, especially during these unprecedented times. You will need a level headed team that will adapt to any bumps in the road. It could be an issue with delivery, an unexpected power outage or even our beautiful British weather could cause some unforeseen problems, a good contractor who can take stock of the situation, adapt to the new circumstances and get back to work is a fantastic aspect to have. It might mean changing up the plan for the day and maybe working on a different section of the project, but the ability to be flexible when the opportunity forces itself upon you is a vital skill that I definitely think it worth considering when choosing your contractor.


And alas, I have saved the best and I think the most important quality to be on the look out for until last; focus. You need a contractor who can see the finish line and can put their blinders on when they need to in order for progress to be steady and the job to get finished. Your contractors goals needs to be so in tune and in line with your own, otherwise it just won’t work out.

O&U Design and Build Package.

At Olive and Umber we pride ourselves on helping our clients create their dream property using Tom’s extensive experience and our enthusiastic team. We can facilitate the design of your project from start to finish, when we hand the keys over at the end of your project I have no doubt that you will be delighted with the outcome. If this sounds like something you need then please do just drop us an email at info@olive-umber.co.uk and the team would be more than happy to answer all your questions.

Where We Operate: Olive and Umber are building contractors based in Peterborough providing design and build service for home renovation, house extensions, loft conversions, plumbing services and new builds across the UK including LondonOakhamHuntingdon, Northampton, Corby, Kettering, Cambridge, Wisbech, Ely and more.