Choosing the right contactor for your home renovation, landscaping, or remodeling project is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. Your home is probably your most valuable asset and renovations can add to that value. Even more importantly, they can help you enjoy your home on a day to day basis! Follow these 9 pro tips to find the right contractor and ensure a happy ending to your home and property upgrade.
Check the Contractor’s References and Referrals
When checking a contractor’s credibility, there’s perhaps no better source than their past clients. The contractor should be willing to provide you a list and you should not be afraid to follow up. Ask these homeowners about the quality of the work, but also the process. If anything unexpected arose, was it handled to satisfaction? Online reviews are another potentially valuable source of information. Consider visiting a current jobsite to ensure that it looks safe and orderly.
Look at Their Portfolio of Completed Renovation or Landscaping Projects
A contractor who is proud of their work will maintain an up-to-date portfolio of pictures. Do these completed projects meet your standard? Is there evidence that the contractor has direct experience doing the kind of work you require? View these portfolios with an eye for detail and use them to narrow your list of potential candidates.
Investigate the Contractor’s Licenses, Accreditations, and Awards
Does the contractor have professional accreditations? Are they properly licensed by the province or city? This will be necessary to obtain the proper work permits to begin the renovation. Awards, badges, or verifications, such as those issued by Home Stars, are another sign that your contractor is credible.
Observe Their Communication Style
The early stages of consultation offer you an opportunity to observe a contractor’s communication style. Do they prefer the telephone? Email? Do they respond to specific questions directly, or offer generalities instead? Do they follow up quickly or leave you hanging for days on end?
A good contractor will always be responsive, informative, and professional in demeanor. Observe and choose accordingly.
Research their Reputation
Fly by night contractors come and go, but those with a strong reputation in the community are your best bet. Do they have a history of consistency? Frequent name or address changes may be considered red flags. Ask a contractor about their relationships with subcontractors such as plumbers and electricians, then follow up.
Another good indicator of a contractor’s credibility is the amount of work they’re currently engaged in. This can present a double edged sword. If a contractor has a wide open schedule, the question ‘why’ must be asked. Hiring a contractor that’s booked solid means you’re likely in for a wait, but at least you’ll be confident that you’re waiting for quality.
Verify the Contractor’s Insurance
Uninsured contractors could leave you with no recourse if they damage your (or your neighbor’s) property. Worse yet, they could leave you liable if someone is hurt on the job. Ask your contractor to provide proof of insurance.
Consider Price, but Be Realistic
Price, naturally, can be a concern. Unless your budget is infinite, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into. Beware, however, of lowball quotes, as the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ tends to be true.
Ask Questions, and Get Answers in Writing
It’s all about details! A good contract is essential.
What, exactly, should an estimate include? The contractor should provide drawings and material specifications should also be discussed up front. Permits, inspections, and payment terms should all be addressed, as should expected start and end dates. Will subcontractors be necessary, and, if so, how will they be chosen?
Your obligations should be considered as well. What time of day are you comfortable with work being done? Are you responsible for moving your personal belongings out of the work area?
Having these conversations in advance will provide for smooth sailing once the project is underway.
Trust Your Gut!
Your chosen contractor will ultimately be spending time at your home or property. After considering all else, ask yourself, is this somebody I trust? Those who answer your questions and address your concerns directly and professionally will put your mind at ease. Those who don’t should be avoided!
Your home is your castle, and should be handled with care. Davel Construction is a family owned and run company that has been doing quality landscaping and home renovation work in the Georgetown area since 2008. Ask us about our labour warranty, our consultation, and our 3D rendering process, which allows you to proceed with total confidence.