Everything you need to know before hiring a contractor

Before hiring a contractor for your home renovation or repair project, here are some important questions you need to answer. Remember that professional contractors can provide clear answers to your questions. If they can’t, they’re not the right contractor for you.

Before hiring a contractor, ask yourself:

Is this the right contractor? You need someone with experience, a solid track record, and proper business practices. Don’t just take their word for it — get references and check things out. Ask about their company, background, expertise, past projects, industry affiliations (like an association membership), and business credentials (licence or bonding where required; business or GST number).

hiring a contractor
Toronto’s Bramson Construction renovated this cluttered kitchen into a streamlined room that’s functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Is this the complete price? Get full details on any quote or proposed budget. Find out what’s included and what’s not — you want to be sure there will be no extra costs unless you decide to add something to the project. Professionals will specify quality products and include associated costs for equipment rental and waste disposal up front, not present you with additional bills at the end.

Can I count on the timelines? Experienced, reputable contractors understand the importance of realistic timelines and don’t set false expectations. They promise what they can deliver, set it out in writing, and then do it.

Is the work under warranty? A warranty is not legally required for renovation work — it’s up to contractors to offer and honour a warranty. Professional contractors stand behind their work and include warranty details in the contract. If you have nothing in writing, you have no warranty.

Am I protected? Accidents happen — workers fall off ladders, neighbour’s fences get knocked down, or worse. Ask your contractor for proof of business insurance and workers’ compensation.

Do I have recourse in case of non-performance? What happens if the contractor fails to live up to their promises? If you hire a contractor without getting a written contract, there is little you can do if they don’t deliver.

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