When you plan to renovate part of your home, or embark on a major remodelling project, there are many challenges to face up to. You need to make sure you get quality materials, a sound design and work which is done on time and to a high standard. By far the most difficult part of all this, is hiring a general contractor. Get this right and you can rely on great results and a straightforward process. Get it wrong and you could be looking at a disaster which runs way over schedule and way over budget. With all the competition in Toronto these days, it’s important to know how to spot a great general contractor apart from the rest.
How to Find a Great General Contractor
We’ve all heard tales of cowboy contractors and fly-by-night traders who cause no end of problems for their customers. Unfortunately, as these people know that there is big money on offer, they are likely to continue dragging down the reputation of the majority of honest and reliable contractors operating in the Toronto area. In order to separate the good from the bad, and the great from the good, you’ll need to know what to look out for. Here are some idea which will increase your chances of selecting a great general contractor:
- Ask Questions – don’t be shy to ask asV many questions as you like. You need to be confident that you are hiring the right contractor, and the best of them know that. Great contractors don’t avoid questions and take the time to listen to your concerns. You’re expected to have questions – most people don’t renovate their homes all that often, and the costs of doing so can be quite considerable.
- Ask The Right Questions – Unfortunately, it’s easy to ask a lot of questions and not feel any more confident than you did at first. Make sure that you ask key questions which will tell you more about the contractor, such as how many similar jobs they have completed, what their strengths and unique selling points are, who will carry out the work and what their experience is with the materials or appliances you are interested in.
- Talk To Their Former Clients – Ask to see examples of their previous work and, whenever possible, to talk to their former clients. You might want to ask questions such as: How did the work go?; were there any problems?; were there any changes to the budget?; and would they recommend the general contractor?
- Consider How The Contractor Communicates – At the negotiating stage, you can get a good idea of what it will be like to work with the contractor, by how communicative they are with you. Don’t be afraid to call them up, leave messages and send emails. If they are slow at getting back to you, or difficult to get hold of, it’s likely that things will be the same or worse if you hire them. A contractor who cares about your business will always find time for you.
There are, lamentably, no guarantees to protect you completely from unscrupulous traders and cowboys. However, following the advice outlined above will give you a great chance of reducing the risk of ending up with a poor contractor. These tips, plus your own due diligence – checking references, memberships, qualifications and insurance, will help you narrow down the search for the best contractor you can get. Don’t forget about personality, too. While working on your project, the contractor is like a business partner. If you can’t see yourself being able to work well with them, despite their references and qualifications, it’s probably a good idea to consider someone else.