Finding the right professional for your home construction or renovation project is critical. Hiring the wrong firm can cost you time and money, and lead to endless frustrations. It is important to do your homework! Here are some key steps to consider:
- Talk to people you know and trust. Think about family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers who have recently done a construction or renovation project. Ask them if they were satisfied with the company they used. If possible, go and look at the work that was done so that you can judge the quality for yourself.
- Go online. You will find client ratings and reviews on reputable sites that allow you to search for construction professionals – sites like houzz.com and trustedpros.ca. In reading the reviews for a particular company, you want to ensure that most or all of them are positive. Also, once you have a couple of firms in mind, you can search their name together with words like “scam,” “rip-off” and “complaint.”
- Get estimates. It is critical to get written estimates from a number of different firms. The estimates must be provided to you at no charge. They should be based on a visit to your home. And when it comes time to assess the different estimates you receive, do not automatically choose the lowest bidder. If one estimate is lower than the rest, try to find out why. When discussing estimates with a firm, make sure you don’t reveal the competition’s pricing.
- Ask questions. There are several questions you need to ask before hiring a construction or renovation firm. Here are just a few examples. How many projects like mine have you completed within the last year? Will my project require a permit? Could I please have a list of references whom I can contact? What types of insurance do you carry? Will you be using sub-contractors for my project?