There are so many things to think about when hiring a construction pro; what your budget is, how you envisage the result turning out, that sometimes it’s easy to forget some important stuff.
Like choosing your builder or construction company, all too often people go with the first quote they get, but this is a mistake, as we set out below.
Here are our expert tips for hiring the right construction professional for your home and project needs.
The best place to start is asking people you know for referrals. It might seem crazy that even in this high-tech age, word of mouth counts for so much, but it really does. Instinctively you’re more likely to trust someone who a friend recommends than some anonymous review online.
Is there someone near you who has had a recent remodel or work done?
Get chatting with your neighbors to see who they used. Bear special attention to projects similar to your own.
Other construction professionals are also good sources of information. If you know an interior designer or architect, they may be able to refer you to a reputable construction firm as well.
Get to know some builders
We don’t mean hanging out on building sites, but when you begin making enquiries into construction firms, get a conversation going between you and the potential candidate.
When conversing with construction personnel, take note of their approach to your job. Are they confident, keen, well versed in the kind of thing you want them to do?
Have they provided a free quote with no obligations and done so speedily when asked?
If there’s a significant time delay in responding to your questions, this should be a warning sign.
Check their recent work
Once you have a contractor in mind, it is time to check out their back catalog. If they have a website, they should have some pictures of their previous contracts and possibly, testimonials from homeowners.
If the homes they have worked on are nearby, go and look for yourself at the build’s quality. And if possible, speak to the homeowners themselves about the job. Would they recommend that contractor?
Check their credentials
Next, you have to check your potential contractor’s credentials, this means any trade certification, qualifications, registration with professional bodies and finally licenses.
Depending on where you are in Canada, a construction worker may not need a license, but some provinces (British Columbia is one of them) do. Check with your authority that your builder is registered.
Check their references
Once you have decided to hire someone, they should provide you with two references (at least) which need to be checked. Take the time to follow up the references your tradesperson gives you and if they haven’t provided any then it is time to start asking.
Check who the references are from. Are they former employers or clients? If not, is their opinion trustworthy?
Some questions to bear in mind to ask of referees include how did you find the contractor, was the project completed on time and on budget and what was the quality of the build?
Check the contract
Don’t be tempted to start a job without a contract. And when you have got a deal, make sure you read it through carefully and understand everything before signing it.
If there’s anything you don’t understand, now’s the time to ask about it – before you sign anything.
Make sure all permits have been granted and all costing finalized before signing the final draft.
Expect the unexpected
No matter how efficient the contractor, there is always the possibility that things might change. And projects going over budget are not an uncommon thing.
Always be prepared for the fact that things don’t always go to plan. Extra expenses happen and it is just as well to budget for them. We would say allow a 10% margin of error for your budget, and that also goes for the timescale!
Be assured, most contractors are not cowboys and by following these simple tips you will be sure to find the right person for the job.