Do you want a built-in shelf made, kitchen cabinets refinished or your bathroom retiled? If the job requires more than a paintbrush and a bucket, and you're not sure you can pull it off, it's best to leave it to the pros. However, carpenters and plumbers aren't tradespeople we employ frequently, which can make dealing with them quite a challenge. Navigate through the process of working with them with these tips: 

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1. Find them through trusted pros. 

Ask a contractor to refer you to an electrician, painter or carpenter—whatever your home needs. As people who are immersed in the industry of building houses, they would know who are the best in the business and will make sure that the men you'll hire will do a great job.

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2. Communicate with them well. 

Speak their language to better understand each other, saying "biga" instead of "beam" for example. If you don't have any knowledge about common construction terms, ask someone who does to help you or make a sketch of what you have in mind—noting down measurements like height, width, and depth. Listen to their suggestions as their years of experience may save you some money, too. 

3. Supervise while learning from there. 

Protect your bank account against shortcuts taken at your expense. Know exactly the job you want and what it will take to get it done. Research about it and check your guy's progress as often as you can to make sure you're not overpaying. 

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4. Have a set schedule.

Before you hire someone, ask how long the project will take. If your carpenter estimates five days, multiply that with his daily rate. That gives you a ballpark figure to work with. That's also your way of guarding against laborers who take longer to do the job so they'll get more pay. 

5. Pay on time.

Very experienced carpenters get paid P500-P700 a day, regular carpenters and painters around P500. Breakfast and lunch aren't expected, but snacks and drinking water will be greatly appreciated. 

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This snippet is from the January-February 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.

This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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