Choose the home builder or renovation contractor or other professional who appears best to do the work: here are some guidelines: What kind of Home Renovation Professional do you need?
- Specialty renovation contractor: specializing in kitchens or bathrooms or sunrooms or windows, environmental sensitivities, energy conservation, etc.
- Design/build renovation contractor: contracts for large projects and provides both design with drawings before costing, and construction.
- Trade contractor: electricians, roofers, plumbers, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installers, etc., for specific work like installing a new furnace or rewiring the home.
- Retailer associated contractors: contractors associated with retailers like kitchen and bathroom stores who will install the store’s products once you choose them from the retail showroom (or you can do it yourself.)
- Designers and architects: before construction, you may need professionals to assist you with plans and to prepare working drawings and specifications.
- These designers and architects can work with your renovation or building contractor.
- Home inspectors: a third party inspector, properly qualified with references and warranty documentation, may be hired to assess your home and plans before you hire a construction contractor.
Here are tips to help you judge the home contractors or other home renovation pros you choose to meet:
- He/she calls back when promised.
- The pro will be business-like, showing up on time with an organized presentation and direct answers to your questions.
- He/she is a good listener, turning your ideas and aims into a plan and communicating it well to you.
- He/she has skills and experience of many years in providing the kind of work you need
- He/she will provide references (without being asked) including a supportive network of other business such as local banks, materials suppliers and sub trades within the industry.
- He/she will have proper documentation proving workers’ comp, insurance and other coverage and will get permits as needed.
- He/she will provide a written contract and will not suggest unwritten ‘deals’.
Who not to hire
Do not hire a person claiming to be a contractor or other professional who:
- works only for cash
- offers ‘cash discounts’
- offers unrealistically low estimates
- wants to work under a ‘hand-shake’ deal without a written contract
- is not covered by Workers’ Compensation
- does not have liability insurance
- demands a large down payment “to buy materials”
- refuses to give you a written contract or objects to you getting other estimates
- has only a post office box for an address and a telephone answering service.
- appears at your door claiming to represent a home repair contractor and offering repairs such as to shingles, brick, mortar, driveways or other aspects of your home
- offers “special discount prices” or “seniors’ discounts” because the company is in the neighbourhood already or has some left-over materials
- insists you act fast to sign a contract and/or make a down payment
- offers a discount if you ‘advertise work’ with a sign on your lawn or other means
- offers “lifetime” warranties
- quotes a price without seeing the job
- conducts a “free inspection” of your home before claiming you need major repairs
In general, don’t hire anyone if he or she raises caution flags of any kind with you and, or your family members. If you have doubts about the honesty or reliability of a worker, you’ll likely never be happy with the results.