5 Must Do Steps When Hiring a Contractor
Absolutely! You just need to be smart about hiring the right contractor or renovation company for your project and with whom you feel comfortable working. Today I’ll give you some great tips if you are looking to hire a contractor.
- Do your Research
- Get a Few Quotes
- Reference Check
- Sign a Contract
- Watch Out for RED FLAGS
Do Your Research
Whether the contractor was referred to you by a friend or you found an ad in a magazine, you still need to do your research about the company. The internet is a fabulous tool and right at our fingertips so there is no excuse.
Check the company website. Read the testimonials, and have a look at the projects they have worked on. Read about the history of the company. A website can give you a good indication of the professionalism of the company. If the site was quickly thrown together, how are they going to handle your project?
The Better Business Bureau is a great place to research contractors or renovation companies. Businesses are not obligated to seek BBB accreditation, but those that do must meet the BBB accreditation standards.
Would you rather choose a company that is registered with BBB having an A+ rating versus one that is not?
When in doubt Google, right?
You may come across some bulletin boards or websites where you can find some testimonials about the company and their previous works.
Get a Few Quotes
To get an idea of what the scope of your project will cost, it is best to get a few estimates from different contractors. Each quote will differ, but that all depends on the availability and expertise of the contractor.
Some contractors price low, others, medium to high range. Ask them to explain why they price the way they do. If they price on the higher end, that may be because it covers the costs of the little unexpected issues that arise during the renovation process.
I would suggest that you get at least two to three different quotes for your project.
Make sure you prepare a list of questions that you’d like to ask the contractor during your initial site visit.
Here are some suggested questions:
- Do you manage the entire project and hire the appropriate trades (i.e. electrician & plumber)?
- Do you source the materials or can I?
- What are the qualities of fixtures you install (faucets, sinks, lighting, etc.)?
- What is included in your work proposal/quote breakdown?
- What are you terms of payment?
- Do you have insurance?
If you are going to be working on a large renovation, I would ask the contractor to supply you with a list of past clients that you can contact to obtain a reference. It’s very helpful to speak with someone who has gone through the process and can give you an idea of what it’s like to work with the company.
They may be able to provide you with information such as:
- Do they arrive on time?
- Were phone calls returned in a timely manner?
- Were appointments and meetings kept?
- Are they professional, and trustworthy?
- How do they handle any issues/problems?
- Is it easy to communicate with them?
- Do they keep the job site clean?
Another great online source to find references and testimonials about a company is HomeStars.
Sign a Contract
Each company runs differently, but the company that you want to hire should have you sign a contract. Please make sure you read the agreement in its entirely as well as the fine print. Never sign anything if you don’t feel comfortable.
The contract should include the following:
- Detailed scope of work
- Project budget including line-item costs for labor, materials, and fees
- Specifics about the tasks the contractor will perform (demolition, installation, cleanup)
- Description of what products and services are to be provided by the contractor
- Information on applicable building permits and fees
- Subcontractor issues (such as license and insurance verification and warranty of workmanship)
- Terms of payment
- Project start and completion date
- Consequences of default by either party
Watch out for RED FLAGS
If it’s too good to be true… it probably is!
If you are given an estimate that is substantially lower than other estimates you received, I would be very cautious. Is it really worth paying less for what you can assume will be low quality materials and substandard work? Remember, you get what you pay for!
If you hear this “I won’t charge you HST if you pay me in CASH.” – walk away!
This is a huge RED FLAG!
Some people think this is a great deal, but it’s not worth the risk. I have heard too many stories about renovations paid in cash gone very wrong. Politely tell them that you are currently seeking various estimates and cross them off that list! The next time you are thinking about taking on a home renovation project or are looking to hire a contractor…
Remember the 5 Must Do Steps When Hiring a Contractor
- Do your research
- Get a few quotes
- Reference check
- Sign a contract
- Watch out for RED FLAGS
Are you currently looking to hire a contractor or renovation company? Tell us all about your experiences working with contractors! Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing. P.S. If you have a design question or a topic that you would like me to cover, please leave a comment or send me an email. I would love to hear from you!