Finding the right renovation contractor for your home renovation project is a little bit like dating. The first step is looking for prospective contractors before choosing ‘the one’ you’d like to get to know a little better. Here’s what you need to know to find and interview the right contractor for your home project.
Interview the contractor
Step one: get to know the person you’re considering hiring. Use this simple interview worksheet to help determine whether or not you feel comfortable with him/her working in your home. Also, ask for:
- Qualifications: How long have they been in business? Do they subcontract work? Have they completed similar projects?
- References: Get in touch with at least three customer references to learn how previous clients feel about work completed by the contractor. Use this worksheet to guide your reference questions.
- Suggestions: Are there ways of improving your space that you may not have considered? Can they help you cut costs (by having you do some of the work, for example)?
- An Estimate: Always get an official quote for your project. Before you get to that point an experienced renovation contractor can let you know if your current budget expectations are realistic for your project or if you need to go back to the drawing board.
Ask these questions…and more
Ask the contractor these types of questions to sort out whether he/she is a good fit for your project.
What services do you offer?
Some contractors specialize in extensive home renovation (think home additions and large projects) while others do mainly one-room renovations or maintenance/repairs.
Will we get a written contract?
If the answer is no… it’s a BIG red flag! You should always require a written contract or work order, no matter how small the job. Seek another professional who will offer you one. Without a written contract, you put yourself and your home at risk.
Can we speak with some of your past clients?
Professional contractors are proud of their work, and willingly will provide you with contacts forformer clients for references. Speaking with people the contractor has worked for in the past can give you a good indication of their level of professionalism and what you can expect from them.
Do you have Workers’ Compensation and business liability insurance?
Again, don’t put yourself at risk (financial and legal) without these important elements. Ask for proof of both Workers’ Compensation and insurance.
Seeking contractor recommendations from family and friends is a good start, but completing your own research is the smartest way to find the right person for your project. Access our Member Directory to find a list of professionals in your area.
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Photo: Award-winning home renovation by Oke Woodsmith Building Systems Inc.