Contemplating renovations and need to hire a contractor?
Hiring a contractor can be a scary and stressful experience and I’m sure we have all heard of the horror stories of contractors disappearing after receiving their deposit, finding out they are not a licensed contractor and not qualified for the job, they do shoddy workmanship, and not obtaining the right permits… and the list goes on and on.
Here are some tips on choosing the right contractor:
- The first step is finding a contractor… the best way is by word of mouth referral of someone you know who has used this person in the past. Ask family or friends if they can recommend someone.
- You can also find them in the yellow pages, on the internet, trade organizations, or bulletin boards.
- Obtain at least 3 quotations. This will allow you to see if they are adding profit into the material price and make it easier to compare multiple bids for the same work.
- When you find a contractor, interview him as your employee.. after all he will be working for you and you will be their boss for the time they perform the work. Did they return calls promptly? did they show up on time? Was their appearance professional?
- Ask for references – at least three recent referrals and take the time to call them and enquire:
- Was the contractor punctual?
- Were any changes discussed with the owner prior to proceeding?
- Was the job site clean and free of debris at the end of the day?
- Was the job completed in the time allotted?
- Were they on budget?
These questions will determine if the contractor is worth hiring. A bad contractor can cost you time and money. Often, home-owners search for the lowest estimate, and price does play a role, but often the cheapest does not get you the best work.
- Ask for material supplier references. You can tell a lot about someone by how they pay their bills. Call the supplier for a reference to see if they pay their bills on time… if they pay their bill on time, you know they are responsible and have a good credit rating, if don’t, then be wary.
- Comparing bids is a crucial step in hiring the right contractor. It is advisable to receive at least three bids for any one phase of construction. This establishes market value for your project and will allow you analyze the bid. Make sure the bid includes the following:
- Scope of work – a detailed list of what the contractor will perform
- Timeline for completion
- Payment schedule
- Process for approving changes in construction
- Have him separate labour and material in the quote.. This will enable you to compare quotations with other contractor.
- Beware of signs such as soliciting door-to-door, only accepting cash, not having a listed business number in the local telephone directory, or offering to do your project with materials “leftover” from a previous job.
- Watch out for contractors who want you to obtain required building permits or find them new customers (some will offer discounts if you find them new business).
- If the contractor is offering something that seems too good to be true — like exceptionally long guarantees or offering to do your home as a “demonstration” — it probably is too good to be true.
- Don’t hesitate to check out the background of the contractor you’re considering for your job; he won’t be offended if he has nothing to hide. Likewise, find out if he intends to subcontract some work, and do a background
and financial check of those contractors as well.
- Beware of verbal agreements; as the saying goes, in a court of law, they’re often as good as the paper they were written on.
- Good contractors will give you a binding estimate in writing. They also won’t work without a written contract. The contract should clearly spell out, in easy-to-understand terms, exactly what the project will cost, what will be accomplished and the anticipated time frame for completing the job.
I live and work in STREETSVILLE. Are you considering buying or selling, or know anyone who is? Please give me a call for a complimentary evaluation on the market price of your home. (416) 717-6331. I love referrals !
Your STREETVILLE Real Estate Agent, dedicated to providing outstanding service to my client