Ask a Contractor: Insider Answers to Your Questions

We bought the drinks. In return, we got to drill the man in the work boots.
By: David Hanson
RX-HGMAG001_Contractor-144-a_s3x4

RX-HGMAG001_Contractor-144-a_s3x4

The guy: Hartman Kable, 37
The town: Seattle
The bar: King's Hardware

Why do jobs always seem to take longer than expected?
Most contractors are guilty of "optimistic salesmanship," which gets them a foot in the door. But nobody wants to admit how long it takes to do a good job. It's embarrassing, actually.

How much do you mark up materials?
15 percent. And I charge $35 to $45 an hour.

Who's easier to deal with, women or men?
Women express their appreciation more. But anyone who gives the crew a six-pack at the end of the day is good by me.

What's your best advice for anyone going through a major reno?
Move out during it. Although it'll cost more up front, we get done faster when we don't have to clean up every day.

What stresses you out?
Not getting paid promptly. I love it when a homeowner asks me for an invoice.

What do you hate to hear from a client?
"Why does it look like this?" I don't even know what that means.

What's the definitive tool that says you're legit?
A Festool Track Saw. Only high-class carpenters carry those.

Keep Reading

Next Up

10 Renovation Mistakes

Property Brothers ' Jonathan and Drew Scott talk to HGTV Magazine about how to avoid the biggest remodeling mishaps to save money and hike up your home’s value.

10 Bad Habits Around the House That Cost You Money

HGTV Magazine explains why it pays — literally — to quit these around-the-house mistakes.

Major Home Repair Problems to Avoid

Handy people share hair-raising tales from the job with HGTV Magazine . Plus, they explain what you can do to avoid a frightening repair in the future.

Talk to a Toolman: Home Repair Advice from Chip Wade of 'Curb Appeal'

Should you hire a pro or tackle that home repair job yourself? Curb Appeal 's Chip Wade weighs in on five common questions.

Q+A With Kitchen Crasher Alison Victoria

DIY Network’s Kitchen Crashers host Alison Victoria answers your decorating and remodeling questions in HGTV Magazine .

Sabrina Soto's Cleaning Caddy Essentials

The High/Low Project host Sabrina Soto shares her must-have household cleaning supplies.

Fans Get the Chance to Ask the Property Brothers Anything on 'The Scott Seat'

Drew and Jonathan Scott (and a tiny red couch) land in Tarrytown, N.Y., and take on fan questions.

Hot Cocoa and Snowmen Marshmallows

HGTV Magazine shares this recipe for a festive holiday treat that makes an adorably delicious gift.

Holiday Party Mix

HGTV Magazine shares this recipe for a festive holiday treat that makes an adorably delicious gift.

Cinnamon Ginger Applesauce

HGTV Magazine shares this recipe for a festive holiday treat that makes an adorably delicious gift.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.