4 steps to choosing the right contractor

Though hiring a contractor may seem like an easier way to renovate a house than doing it yourself, you'll want to follow a few simple rules to make sure you get the right person for the right job at the right price.

4 steps to choosing the right contractor

1. Ask someone you trust for recommendations

Getting the inside scoop from someone you trust is a great way to ensure you'll be satisfied with the work done for you.

Be sure to ask some very important questions:

  • Was the estimate on target?
  • Did the contractor show up on time?
  • Did the contractor finish within the estimated timeframe?
  • Did the contractor clean up after each day's work?
  • Did you feel comfortable with the contractor in the house?

Take the time to do your research and try to take a look at the work the recommended contractors have done.

2. Get at least three bids in writing

The estimate your potential contractor gives you should list materials used, labour costs, a timeframe, payment schedule and total price.

  • Don't necessarily go with the lowest bid; sometimes you really do get what you pay for.
  • If you're planning a kitchen renovation, ask to see a kitchen each contractor has completed; a bathroom if you're planning a bathroom renovation, and so on.

3. Confirm the contractor's licensing and insurance

Do they have liability insurance? Workman's compensation? Are they licensed in the province where you live? These are all critical questions to ask your contractor.

4. Take a number

Make sure any contractor you're considering gives you their business and/or home telephone number or address. Yes, a cell phone number is handy, but you will need an address if there's a disagreement about the bill. Remember that a contractor's reluctance to give you a physical address should be a red flag.

By taking the time to find the right contractor, you won't end up with shoddy workmanship, aggravation and a bigger bill than you expected. These guidelines can help you have a cost-effective, low-stress experience.

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