You’ve decided to renovate your home. It may be a small bathroom renovation or a full home addition. As a renovation contractor I have always been amazed how little time customers spend vetting our company. Our customers will often take the time on large jobs, like home additions, but will take very little time when renovating their washroom. I’ve heard so many renovation horror stories and its always the same issues;
- We paid him cash and he’s disappeared.
- The job was a mess, they ruined my floors, damaged my personal property, never removed the construction garbage.
- My 2 week bathroom renovation turned into 4 months
- The quality of work was poor and needs to be redone
- Water damage due to not using quality trades – especially plumbers
Even recently I spoke to a homeowner who was renovating their whole main floor including their kitchen – the initial budget was $200,000 and to my disbelief they were paying the contractor cash. Surprise, surprise, when everything fell apart. Really, $200,000 in cash!
Here are some tips to help you find a contractor;
The simple things to check – Does the contractor have a business number, HST number, WSIB, and General Liability insurance. Ask for documentation – this should be easily accessible for a reputable renovation contractor.
Check to see if they are part of any industry associations – contractors who have pride in their work and their business are involved in their industry. They are constantly learning and improving.
There are so many on line rating services that it is worth the time to read up on your contractor. The public domain can provide great insight as to the company’s strengths and weaknesses. However, a company that only has 10 out of 10 ratings can be suspicious. Look for companies that respond to their reviews – good or bad.
Once you have narrowed down the list of contractors to 2 or 3 that you think would be good to deal with, invite them to your home to provide an estimate. This initial meeting can offer a lot of insight in how your renovation will be managed. Did the renovation contractor arrive on time, did he remove his shoes, how detailed is his quote, how did he speak to you, did he show you and your family respect?
When deciding to embark on a home renovation, whether big or small, take the time to protect your investment. It is your home, plus your own well-being that you are dealing with. Renovations can be very stressful. They can completely disrupt your life while they are going on. Spending time upfront is a huge advantage.