1. How much should you tear out? Sometimes, you may not know exactly how much to tear out for various reasons. Know this: the cost of doing a little bit too much is much less than the cost of doing too little. You are often the first responder. Therefore it is your responsibility to contain the situation, which reasonably means that you can do a little bit more than the minimum necessary in order to gain control of the situation. Surgeons often deal with how much healthy tissue to remove along with the malignant tissue. Except here, we are not dealing with life and death, just perhaps an additional linear foot of drywall.
2. How much should you charge? You should charge for every single activity you perform. In many cases, the carrier may say something like “we don’t pay for after business hours.” This is unfair. If you are working with a carrier that is inflexible on this point, rearrange your estimate to account for additional labor hours to compensate. Look at it like this: if you incur the cost, and the carrier does not pay, the carrier is devaluing your work. That’s it. If you do the work you should get paid for it. Period.
3. If you are going to err, err on the side of prudence. This means that you should tear out 5-7% more that what is absolutely necessary to guarantee that you performed all the necessary work. If that means detaching cabinets, detach the cabinets. If it means cutting a few extra feet of drywall, or a few extra square feet of wood flooring — do it. Don’t be the contractor that does too little to only result in a worse outcome such as mold, which will mean hygienist (and much more expensive claim).
4. Dispose of debris properly, safely, and in a timely fashion. This is especially true when you are dealing with hazardous and/or contaminated materials. Without proper disposal, the environment, pets, children, and many others risk exposure. Do the right thing. Dispose of waste properly. If you don’t, it will catch up to you.
5. Pay your vendors/subcontractors promptly. Late payments strain relationships and erode trust. Make sure you have enough working capital to pay in a timely fashion to avoid “waiting” for money to pay your people. This will ensure the continued loyalty and reliability of your subcontractors and vendors. Many companies cannot do this. If you do it, you will stand out—in the right way.