Hiring a contractor can be an overwhelming process for homeowners. The number of construction companies on Google can be intimidating especially if you have no connections to the industry or idea on who to trust. Most contractors are referred by their friends and family and often come to be by seeing them work on a house down the street from you. For those of you, however, who are starting from scratch, this blog will help you get started.
How do you choose?
Home renovations in Calgary have become a highly competitive market and often, the differentiating factor has become the price! I understand that price is a deciding factor in this rather large investment but I am also here to help you understand that quality, experience, materials, trades and the process, to name a few, are also integral factors in deciding who to choose for your next renovation project.
There is so much more!
Let’s begin by identifying the range of services that the contractor provides. Do they specialize in one area like basement renovations, garage builds or exterior renovations or do they provide full-scale home renovation services?
Can they become your contractor of choice for any and all projects around your house or do you prefer a contractor who is specialized in one area only?
Do they know things like basement window requirments?
Do a thorough investigation of their website!
Do not just look at their pretty gallery on their website, dig a bit deeper to see them while they work. Follow them on Instagram to get a day-by-day recap of their project sites or recent projects (if they are even active on social media). Visit their sites, if possible. Ask them about recent and past projects. How many renovations have you done? How many kitchen renovations have you done? Do not assume that years of experience equate to years of renovation experience in one particular type of renovation.
Make sure they understand your vision, and what your key outcomes or goals are for the project.
Ask about their Process
The process may seem straightforward in your mind right now. Hire the contractor. Work gets complete. Pay the contractor. But there is more to it. Ask about city permits. Are they needed and who obtains them? What about provincial licenses as well.
Ask the hard questions!
Interviewing a contractor should be just as intense as an actual job interview. Do not be afraid to ask the hard questions. Below I have outlined several important questions that often get missed in the process.
- How many years of experience in this particular type of renovation do you have? Get a number from them on the spot, if possible and ask about specific projects. What was the budget? How were the clients? Was the project completed on time?
- Are they able to provide past and present references and upon request? An organized company will be able to provide you with these right away. They should also provide you with an array of references that range from past and present clients.
- Insurance! Insurance! Insurance! Find out what types of insurance they have and for what amount? Do not ask for specific insurance to start. Leave it open for this to be provided to you to show they have a thorough process and are transparent with information.
- Does the contractor provide written contracts? Hire a professional company! Do not become blurred by their enticing price. Stay focused and hire a company that has the necessary processes and procedures in place that reflect a reputable business.
- Do you like who is sitting in front of you? You are about to embark on an adventure and this adventure needs a strong partnership. Both parties need to understand the importance of communication and transparency (and a little fun).
- Do they guarantee their work? A simple ‘yes’ is not good enough. Get proof. Understand their internal process after the project is complete as well as read their home warranty provider’s information as well. Ask about warranty on material, manufacturing or even labour. And most importantly, don’t forget to ask about New Home Warranty.