There are no two ways about it: the importance of finding the right home contractor cannot be understated.
With so many stories in news about deceptive people’s contractors, we think we can share what we have learned for years about some of the characteristics of great contractors, and how you can protect yourself by choosing trustworthy.
The wrong contractor can cost a large amount of money, time and worries. The right contractor can change your dreams for renovations or new builds into reality when they practice communication, transparency, and clear trust. Contractors who have a good reputation have a lot of experience that expects the project and can predict problems that might arise. If the unexpected problem arises, which can easily occur because of what uncertainty can lurk on the carpet or behind the wall, such as mold, asbestos, water damage or pests, the right contractor remains cold under pressure and takes care of the problem quickly with Help from many of their subcontracting partners. Your worries must be discussed and handled, and you will never feel in the dark. You must be able to continue your day by knowing your project is in good hands.
Here are some tactics to ensure you make the right and wise choices about contractors, in mind there are always variations in the company and job requirements. In some cases, meeting all the points listed below may not be achieved for your price point, but they are valuable tools for you to have.
- Put the words you are looking for a home contractor: Ask friends and colleagues, post on social media, and do some online research for companies with a great reputation.
- Take their website, which will tell you about their professionalism, experience, pride in work and their willingness to ask their clients to provide feedback. Look for the work portfolio to see if their project is parallel to your vision, client testimonials, any media exposure, and clear contact information. Search also for each association or community development initiative that may be part of, which will help you evaluate the values of the company.
- Check LinkedIn to see if their employees have long been with them, which reflects the reliability and trust of the company. Check training, certifications, and the level of their employees’ experience.
- After you contact them, they must contact you quickly. Email and communication they must be professional, branded, directly and from someone with authority in the company. Trust your gut here: how do you feel about this person or company is in your space for an extended period of time?
Get some estimates for your work. While it’s tempting to go with contractors who offer low prices and big promises, their reasons may be lower than other companies can lack experience in estimating. Having some estimates will give you a reference point for price and professionalism. Estimates must be on professional corporate stationery with a list of details of all work, the time needed, and all the ingredients needed for the work. Request work and material to be guaranteed for at least a year and request a longer guarantee for products that must have a long life, such as closed window units. Make sure they provide technical details, cleaning instructions, etc. For the products and work they do so guarantees will not be valid.
- Know which questions will be asked about your estimates that can save your money. It shows companies that you know about the process, so they will be less likely to try and draw anything to you!
- Are there structural or engineering requirements that haven’t been addressed?
- Do you have in-house architecture and design?
- Do I need permits or insurance for this job, and what other tasks do I need to do before the job begins?
- Do you do after-hours work? Will this change the price?
- What contingency plans do you have in place for unforeseen issues, like uncovering asbestos, structural issues, water damage, pest damage or mould? Contractors should alert you immediately about unexpected issues so you can collaborate on a plan to address them.
- Ask about the project management process. How often do they tell you about progress? Who will be one of your contact points (make sure this person is involved from the start)? Will the person be available if you need it?
- Ask for certifications, licenses, and references. Your home contractor must be able to easily present their employee certification or experience, responsibility insurance, current worker compensation board insurance, safety certification.
- Request information about their safety procedures and protocols. Leading home contractors have extensive safety procedures documents and programs that protect their employees, your worksite, and your wallet. And make sure to ask their protocol for Covid-19 safety and prevention.
- Find out who their material suppliers and sub-trade partners are and ensure they are of high quality with a great reputation.
- Payment terms can vary. Usually, they must ask for no more than 15 percent to 25 percent down payment to start the project. Larger companies may ask you to conduct credit checks to ensure they will be paid for their work, but if you choose not to do this, they might request a full amount in advance. Read the contract payment details and work with them to reach payment agreements.
After you really prepare their contractors and estimates, it’s time to make your decision. Don’t let them press you to move forward before you feel comfortable! Be sure to make your choice with confidence and without a reservation. Then, let them handle work and keep you in the loop so you can continue your life.
Interesting in working together on your project?
With 5 years of experience, we’ve worked closely with many clients to make their dreams come true — and we’d love to work with you, too! Please get in touch to get the conversation started today. Get in touch today