If you have recently purchased a Windsor Ontario property, you may be planning to do some updating or remodeling. Many of my clients ask how to find a good contractor, that is reasonable and fair. Certainly the last thing you want to do is hire the wrong company, which can lead to delays, legal issues, out of control budgets and work that is not up to code.
Like hiring any professional, finding a contractor takes some research. Here are some guidelines to assist you when you are ready to make some changes to your home:
1. Trust your gut:
If for any reason you don’t like a contractor, then don’t hire them. Sounds obvious I know, but even highly recommended contractors don’t always get along with everyone. So if anything puts you off, remember, you will have to live with this person for as long as the project lasts, so you might as well hire a person you like and can see eye-to-eye with.
2. Contractor is licensed, bonded, insured:
Again, another obvious recommendation, however, you would be surprised how many contractors are not! Imagine hiring a contractor that is not current with the various codes and regulations. Or, if unlicensed and a worker is injured, you may very well be responsible. Don’t risk trying to save money by hiring anyone that isn’t qualified. It could end up costing you a lot more.
3. Hire a contractor who is well experienced with your type of project:
It’s always good to hire a person who is an expert in a particular area. For example, if you have an expensive sports car, chances are you want a mechanic who specializes in the make and model of your auto. The same should be for a contractor. With so many projects that are regulated, go with a company that knows the details of what is required, can anticipate any issues or problems and has the experience to back it up and fix it.
4. Have a contract:
Save yourself worry and stress by having a detailed and thorough contract signed before work takes place or money exchanges hands. A contract can and should spell out everything, even if something hasn’t been agreed upon yet. For example, if you are undecided on lighting fixtures or a front door, you can simply say: “costs for kitchen lighting not to exceed $2,000.” Again, there is never too much detail to include, because it’s much preferable to be safe rather than sorry.
5. Who is doing the work?
Will the contractor be doing the work or will subcontractors be hired? When you hire a contractor you like and trust, there is an excellent chance they will hire good and professional subcontractors. It’s always a good idea to know who will be showing up to work in the morning, so ask your contractor who he or she employs, for how long and if they have ever had any concerns or problems.
6. Set guidelines:
Probably the last thing you or your neighbours want or need is loud machinery at the break of dawn. The same goes for work that continues into the late evening. So discuss with your contractor if you have any limitations that would prevent him or her from doing the work by the agreed upon completion date. Some contractors may not be able to work within your guidelines, so it’s best to learn that before you sign the contract.
7. Understand your responsibilities:
Preparing for a construction project regardless of its size, usually involves some prep work from homeowners. You may be required to move furniture out of a room as some contractors will not move electronics, such as televisions and computers or anything fragile. Also, if you are a pet owner, you may need to find a temporary home if workers are coming and going inside your property as most contractors don’t want to be responsible for a missing dog or cat. Again, get everything in writing.
8. Review previous projects:
If you are considering a contractor, ask to see a current project that is already underway. This allows you not only to see the quality of their work, but also may generate some creative ideas for your own remodeling. And never shy away from asking a contractor’s client their thoughts of the work being done. Is the contractor arriving on time? Is work being completed in a timely manner? If there are delays, are they justified or are they due to poor planning?