If you are planning a home renovation and you know you do not have the do-it-yourself skills to complete the job to your own satisfaction, you are likely considering hiring a home renovation company. The renovation process will almost certainly have ups and downs, and the end result can either be your dream or a complete nightmare. It is especially important that you carefully vet potential home renovation contractors to ensure you hire a qualified, experienced professional who will help make your renovation dreams a reality.
Ultimately, choosing a contractor is much like hiring any other tradesman, but when it comes to home renovations, the consequences of a poor choice can be disastrous. You want to work with a renovation company that is properly licensed and works with qualified trades-people. Ideally, you should start by making a list of potential contractors. You can find home renovation companies through online searches, a flip through your yellow pages, or even better, through conversations with friends, family, and colleagues. A trusted friend, family member, or coworker is likely to give you an honest and straightforward opinion regarding their experiences with contractors; this may help you to avoid under-qualified candidates.
Nevertheless, you should never take just one recommendation at face value. Always start with at least 3 or 4 potential contractors and speak with them individually before you decide whom to hire. When evaluating potential home renovation companies, there are some basic questions you will obviously want to ask.
- When can you start?
- What is your estimate?
- How long will the work take?
Clearly, these are important questions, but you also want to find more information about their professional qualifications (including training and certification), business license, insurance, and references.
Obviously, you are best served working with a contractor who takes continuing education seriously. As you would expect technology to change over time, building practices do as well. Even building codes can change. A contractor who updates his skills will likely consider quality work and his ultimate reputation as paramount in this business.
Moreover, each province will likely have varying requirements for professional licenses, but most will require contractors to have a Certification of Qualification or a similar license. Make sure to check with local governments to determine requirements in your area.
In order to conduct business, your home renovation company will need to have a business license. Feel free to ask contractors for a copy of this license so you can check that it is valid and also if any complaints have been lodged against the contractor.
You should only work with properly insured contractors or you run the risk of liability on your own end in the case of damage or even injury to workers or your family.
Finally, and likely most importantly, you should ask for at least 2 or 3 references from home renovation candidates. More specifically, you should ask for references from clients who had similar projects completed by the home renovation company. You can ask referees more detailed information about the contractor, for example:
- Was the contractor easy to work with?
- Was the job completed satisfactorily, on time, and on budget?
- Was the contractor open to questions?
- Did the contractor and his/her staff clean up at the end of the day?