A renovation done by a reputable contractor using quality materials can greatly increase the value of your home.
Before signing a contract consider the following points:
1. Choose a reputable contractor.
- Make sure your contractor has been in business for a significant amount of time.
- Every year new Renovation companies appear, but very few are still operating after a couple of years.
- The contractor should be involved start-to-finish, from the design to the installation to the completion.
- Make sure you are comfortable with the contractor and that he presents himself in a professional way, as you will be dealing with him often throughout the course of the project.
2. Ensure that the material comes from a reputable well known supplier.
- They offer a wider variety of quality materials and hardware products.
- “Midnight Suppliers” tend to provide below grade materials.
3. Be realistic when negotiating a start date for the installation.
- If a contractor can start immediately you should be wary. If he is good, why isn’t he busy?
- A reputable contractor can have months of work before they can start a new job. A quality contractor is worth the wait!
4. Be aware of the approximate duration of the work.
- Can the contractor get the job done in your timeline, rather than his timeline? There’s nothing more frustrating than if a contractor tells you that a job will be done by a certain date and then it isn’t. On the flip side, if you can’t find a good contractor that’s willing to commit to your timeline, your expectations may be too high and you may need to adjust your timeline.
5. What is the cleaning policy?
- Take a look at the way he keeps his equipment and vehicle. Are things clean? Neatly arranged? If not – that’s a big warning. The way a contractor treats his tools is a direct connection to how he’ll treat your home. On this note, and just as important, ask about the clean-up policy.
6. Contractor Contract
- Is your contractor willing to put both his bid and the scope of work in writing? If not – walk away immediately. You’ll be surprised how many contractors will verbally tell you that a certain piece of the remodelling project is included but will then, in the middle of everything, tell you it will cost you extra money, thus holding you hostage with an uncompleted project.
- Does your contractor plan on doing everything himself? Or will he “sub out” work? For example, if you are remodelling a bathroom, you may need a plumber and an electrician. It’s okay if the contractor subs work out to these specific trades – it shows he wants the work done right.
- You can expect your contractor to make money off the sub-contractors, by marking up their quotes for the project. That’s a standard practice because there is a lot of time spent on scheduling. I generally do not mark up the sub-trades and am upfront with the cost involved with hiring them..
8. Quoting & Billing Procedure?
- Ask the contractor about his quoting procedure. Will it contain general information, or will it be specific? Some will show you exact costs in a line item invoice, but others roll it up into one big bill. How much detail do you want? You should clarify that with your contractor up front.
- What is the payment or billing policy? Is money required up front? Beware of contractors asking for large deposits!
- Cost is important but the lowest price is not necessarily the best value, and often it is not even good value!