So you’ve decided to install a new bathtub, or you’ve finally decided on new kitchen tiling. Hiring a contractor is the way to go if you don’t want to do the job yourself or don’t have the time or abilities to handle a DIY home renovation project. However, choosing a home renovation contractor can be difficult: How can you tell whether someone is skilled at a job with which you have no experience?
You’re basically recruiting a new employee for a job when you hire a contractor. You wouldn’t hire the first person who applied for a position at your company, so don’t select a home renovation contractor without first considering your options. Before making a final decision, look over previous work portfolios, check the license, ask for referrals and gather rival bids.
Making a list of 10–15 local contractors with the proper experience is the first step in selecting the ideal home improvement contractor. It’s advisable to add more names than you need at this time, because you’ll gradually narrow down this list to the top prospects and use it to choose your contractor.
You can make your initial list in a variety of ways:
- Request recommendations from your homeowner friends, particularly those who have just had renovations.
- Look up the type of service you require in your location on the internet.
- Look up reviews on the internet.
- Use social media to solicit local referrals from friends or followers.
Successful contractors will make it simple for you to contact them and see examples of their work. Be wary of home improvement contractors who don’t have a website, social media presence or customer reviews.
Choose a contractor specializing in the type of remodelling you require; a kitchen remodeler may not be the best fit for your bathroom renovation. For some projects, a home renovation contractor with a creative eye might be beneficial. For example, if you want to install an intricate mosaic tile entryway or paint a room with a fake finish, you’ll need a contractor who specializes in that type of job.
Request a portfolio of work from each contractor on your long list, preferably from the previous year. They may have a tangible portfolio or connect you to an image-rich website. At least 10 projects should be included in a decent portfolio. It should include images of each space before work, during the remodel, and after the project is completed. It’s helpful to see blueprints, sketches, or other designs to understand how the contractor tackles a project.
Your list should include roughly six to eight names at this time. Inquire about the contractors’ licenses and certifications as an easy way to narrow it down even more. Depending on the project, your home renovation contractor will need different licenses or certificates. Because legal requirements differ by province, contact your community’s licensing section to inquire about specific needs.
Make sure that anyone on your list has liability insurance in case they damage your house, in addition to ensuring that their contractors have the necessary licenses and certifications to do the task safely and lawfully. Worker’s compensation should include the contractor as well as any other employees. Request a copy of their insurance policies and double-check that they are current.
Now that you’ve cut down your large list to five or six top possibilities, it’s time to start checking references. Asking for a list of references is standard procedure; therefore, any professional contractor will expect you to do so. A typical contractor reference list has 10 or more jobs, each with the customer’s name, address and phone number. It helps if each work has a set of dates; ask them if the dates aren’t on the list.
It’s now time to call each of the references. Select a few recent projects and a few older projects if the list is lengthy. During your phone call, take precise notes; you’ll need to ask several references if you can come to their house to examine the project in person.
Cross out any contractors who received negative evaluations after you’ve phoned their references. Then determine which of the remaining references you want to see in person to examine their contractor’s finished work. Choose people who appear open and forthcoming, have similar projects to yours, and ideally, live near you. It’s especially beneficial if the work was completed at least a few years ago so you can observe how it’s held up over time. Each of your remaining top contenders should have at least one completed project.
Take a close look at the contractor’s work as you visit the projects. Inquire if it has ever required maintenance or repairs. Examine the overall atmosphere as well as the specific details.
There are a few red flags to look for depending on the project:
- Bathroom renovations include dark stains on the walls or ceilings, slanted floors, low-cost materials and inadequate lighting.
- Kitchen remodels’ visible seams on countertops, low-cost materials, asymmetrical “kitchen triangle” (stove, refrigerator and sink), poor lighting, and insufficient storage or counter space.
- Overspray, paint runs, streaks, uneven lines and edges, and paint spatter on the floor are all issues with the paint.
- Work with tiles: Inconsistent grout lines, uneven surfaces, and apparent transitions between surfaces.
- Wavy or bloated boards, mismatched edges, gaps between boards or windows, floorboard cracks, cracks or separation between the side of the house and the deck, and concrete cracks.
You’ve already crossed out anyone on your list who does poor work. The next step is to price the task with the rest of your list of contractors.
Following a comprehensive meeting, each contractor will give you a bid, which is a brief proposal and estimate of the project’s cost. Depending on the type of renovation, this could include information about the project’s timeline, recommended materials and the total cost. Obtain quotations from the top three or four contractors on your shortlist. From these quotes, you’ll choose your contractor.
To help identify the most ideal renovator for your home, visit Cabneato Newmarket online or call (705) 435-8302 today.