Thinking of doing a home reno? Here are eight things you need to know before hiring your contractor:
1. Get at least three references for the contractor you think you want to hire and thoroughly check all of them.
2. Make sure your contractor, and his sub-contractors, are properly licensed and insured; ask to see his and his sub-contractors insurance forms and ask a lawyer or your insurance company to confirm their accuracy and what’s covered.
3. Ask him about the last project he worked on and request a visit to speak with the homeowners.
4. Visit his place of business to make sure it’s reputable. Does he have a professional office or do business out of his truck or home? Is he registered with local business associations and/or the Better Business Bureau?
5. Ensure that you have a signed contract outlining every job the contractor will do, how long it will take and how much it will cost. Contractors may not wish to commit to projects in writing, but you must insist on this. Itemized costs are also important so you know how the total amount is determined and can also set aside a small amount for contingencies.
6. Work out a payment plan that you both agree to.
7. Keep track of the job as it progresses, making him aware of any jobs not done to your satisfaction or any damage he may have caused (scratched floors, stained bricks, etc). Discuss these issues before final payment.
8. Contact online resources. Homestars.ca is a website where homeowners across Canada give unbiased reviews of their contractors – invaluable!