Hiring a home improvement contractor

Home improvement projects can be a lot easier if you have the right people working with you. That’s why it’s essential to find a reputable contractor.

The right person for you will have experience in the type of labor you’re requesting. They’ll also be able to make recommendations as you go if something were to come up.

Obviously, not just anyone can be trusted with this job. With so many contractors available, it’s good to have a game plan for finding the best help.

That’s why we’re stepping in. Here’s a list of 10 general tips for when you begin looking for a home improvement contractor.

1. Meet the Person

This person is going to be spending a considerable amount of time in your home. So, you need to make sure it’s someone you can trust.

Also, you should meet with a person beforehand to get a better feel for their personality. Are they easy to talk to? Are they open and direct?

Or, are they closed off and not very communicative? You’ll want someone who you know will be honest and upfront, and also pleasant to work with.

2. Compare Prices

As with many home projects, the higher the price, the better the quality. But, that doesn’t mean you have to splurge to find great service.

You just need to know what’s an average price range and what’s out of the budget. Ask several contractors what they charge and do your own online research. (See following.)

Then, compare their services to the average rate. Does it seem like you’re paying a lot for not as much work? Next.

3. Stick to Budget

Before you hire someone one, do extensive research into what your projects will cost you. As mentioned above, the price will vary from home improvement contractor.

But, it’s highly recommended to at least see what the norm is and set a figure. When you’re meeting with people, make sure you’re very direct about this.

If it’s too low, then they’ll tell you. A good home contractor will even try to help you cut corners on unnecessary costs.

4. Referrals/Credentials/Licences

Your home improvement contractor should have credentials qualifying them to do the work. In Ontario, Electricians require a license. Other trades including, Gasfitters, Oil Burner Mechanics, Plumbers, Refrigeration/AC and Sheet metal workers require a Certificate of Qualification. Most other trades have no regulatory requirements but if they are certified/affiliated with the following organizations, it’s a good sign:

  1. Certificate of Apprenticeship from Ontario – Ontario College of Trades
  2. Certificate of Qualification (C of Q)
  3. Trade Equivalency Assessment (TEA)
  4. National Association of Home Builder (NAHB)

5. Do Your Research

Don’t leave it up to the home improvement contractor to explain regulations and ordinances. It’s up to you to have the appropriate permits for the job.

In some instances, a contractor will help obtain the necessary paperwork for you. But, you should still be heavily involved in this task.

Take the time to know what they’re filing for and what its purpose is. Also, learn about how any of these items could impact you.

6. Know What You’re Looking For

As we mentioned above, a contractor should make recommendations if necessary. But, you shouldn’t let just anyone sweet talk you into an irrelevant fix.

Set aside time to study your home and create a plan that is truly tailored to what you need.

Stick to your guns if they’re trying to push an unneeded job on you. Be open to listening to their concerns. But, don’t sign off on anything before you know if it’s absolutely essential.

7. Create a Formal Contract

Once you’ve found the person to take on the work, get the logistics in writing. You want to ensure everyone’s on the same page and understands what’s expected.

You’ll want to set time frames, projected costs, payment plans, and a detailed overview of the project. Also, don’t forget the basics such as their home improvement contract number.

We would also set up a plan for who is to take care of additional costs. Should an emergency occur, it’s good to know who’s reliable to avoid conflict.

8. Have Home Improvement Contractor Visit

We recommend meeting with potential candidates outside of the home. Then, once you settle on one, invite them to your property so they can inspect the land.

They’ll need to get a feel for the area they’re going to be working in. Also, this is when they can make additional recommendations if necessary.

Make sure you run through with them what you expect to be done. Show them each job site so there aren’t any last minute surprises.

9. Get Your Home Ready

One of the last big steps after hiring a home improvement contractor is to get your home ready. There are several things you can do that can make both your’s and the contractor’s part a lot easier.

For instance, if fresh painting is required, have your colors selected beforehand. (If you’re looking to cut costs, painting yourself is something you could consider.)

Also, create space for your contractor and their crew. If you don’t, they’re going to have to move your items which is a huge inconvenience.

Temporarily remove your valuables and add plastic sheets to reduce dust collection. Lastly, determine who the point of contact will be and make sure the staff has their number.

10. Don’t Make Any Drastic Changes (Just Yet)

In some instances, families need to make drastic changes, such as demolishing parts of their home. Wait until your contractor visits and supplies have arrived before doing these jobs.

You don’t want to begin tearing down whole areas in your home to find out there’s a change. Make sure you both have everything squared away before you move forward.

Let’s Tear This Down

Making home improvements is challenging and exhausting. But, with the right people, it’s all worth it.

At HomeRenoCare, we work to help you find the best contractors for the job. You can browse our directory of listings across Canada.

So, let’s get started! Sign up for free and you can track your activity, save your favourites, collect photos for inspiration and more.  Contact us if you have any additional questions.