While I spent the majority of this summer prepping for my nuptials, my family and friends fixed up their homes. I got phone calls, text messages and emails about whether something was “normal” or not.

There are many issues that should concern you when you’re relying on others to help you spruce up your space, and there are many others that are perfectly fine and simply routine parts of the job. Consider some of these issues that arose with my family and friends and how to deal with them:


“My A/C repair guy said he needed to order parts, but now, three weeks later, he’s nowhere to be found.” This is not OK. In this situation, a relative relied on an acquaintance who had done A/C work in the past. The man came by, said he needed to order some parts, never returned, and ignored phone calls. The good news: no money was put down for the repair. Later, my relative ended up calling a reputable company to handle the fix, and the repair was so simple, they charged him nothing. Remember to always check credentials before allowing someone to tackle a repair, and never put money down on something without a written contract.


“The flooring guys finished my entire downstairs really quickly.” This is completely fine. In this situation, my friend hired a local flooring company to install laminate floors. She expected them to take an entire day, but they completed the project in less than three hours.

They brought the materials to her home a few days before installation, to allow the boards to acclimate to the space. On installation day, a crew of professionals worked together. They knew how to set up, and each took on a different part of the job to get it done efficiently.


“The remodelers leave food cartons and drinks behind every day.” This is not OK. While a worksite should not be expected to be pristine, it should be kept free of trash, especially at the end of the day. Talk with your contractors before the job begins, and plan how they will handle things like this. Many will bring a dumpster, or at least agree to take their rubbish with them.

When you are working with home-improvement professionals, whether it’s a full-on, whole-home renovation or a simple repair, the best way to deal with the situation is to prepare yourself for what to expect. Go beyond mental preparation, and spell it out with your contractor — on paper — before the work starts.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.