The first thing that should happen before even looking for a home renovations contractor is to know what it is you’re looking for.
Are you unhappy with your outdated kitchen?
Do you want to double your living space by adding a second-floor addition or finishing your basement?
Does your bathroom need a refresh?
Knowing what kind of home renovations you are looking for and deciding on your budget will help you narrow down your search for a contractor. It’s a waste for both the contractor and your time if you haven’t done serious thinking about it.
With a specific project and budget in mind, you can get a clearer idea of who the best renovations contractor for you will be.
Now that you know what kind of project you are looking to undertake, now it is time to look into finding a home renovations contractor in Toronto for your job.
A contractor that specializes in the type of home renovations work that you’re looking to have done is always a great idea. If you’re looking to have a home addition built, finding a contractor who has years of experience in building home additions rather than bathroom remodelling would be more appropriate.
Most Toronto renovations contractors will have a website or some form of online presence that should allow you to read testimonial and reviews from former clients and be able to preview previous projects similar to yours to get an idea of the quality of their work.
Once in contact with the contractor, asking to speak to former clients or visiting one of their current projects can further allow you to determine if this contractor would work well for your needs.
There are certain trades including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC that are regulated by the Ontario College of Trades. You should always ensure that you are aware of any trades that are regulated and to ensure that any contractor that is hired has the appropriate certification.
All contractors should be insured and be covered by WSIB, as the homeowner as well as the contractor may be liable if there is an accident during the renovations of your home.
Not only is it in your best interest to receive quotes from multiple contractors but it’s what most contractors prefer. However, don’t receive quotes from more than 4-5 contractors as it tends to be a waste of a contractors’ time to create a quote if it is unlikely they are going to get the job. Contractors want to make sure you look at multiple quotes and not rush into anything because those that rush into decisions tend to change their mind later on which can negatively affect the contractor.
While email is a great start, a phone call with the potential contractor is a great way to pre-screen and interview contractors by asking them questions that are important to you and to get a good idea of their personality.
The phone call should be used to decide whether or not you’d like to set up a meeting with the contractor in person so that you can get a final, in depth quote and decide whether or not you like the contractor to choose them for your job.
If you’re going to choose a contractor solely on cost alone, it may be better to put the renovations aside if not urgent until a future time. There are so many other factors that need to be considered when choosing a contractor that are more important than just the cost. If you have gotten a few quotes and one is quite a bit cheaper than the others, it can be a warning sign. If the price sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is.
When you receive your quotes from multiple contractors, you’ll know you’re getting a fair price when they are all close together. However, you should be willing to spend a bit more (as in not just going with the lowest price) if you’re looking for quality work.
Please keep in mind that with home renovations there is a possibility of hidden costs because unfortunately things arise and contractors can’t see through the walls beforehand.
Always, always, always, get everything down in writing. Most reliable contractors want a contract to protect themselves, as well as the client. Your contract should have all the relevant contact and general info but also include a detailed scope and work and time frames, payment schedules and how changes will be handled.
The best way to pay a contractor is through progress payments. These are payments that are broken down and only paid once completed a certain task. This ensures that the contractor is not getting paid for something that has yet to be complete.
You should be paying a deposit of 10-15% depending on the size of the project but be wary of any home renovations contractors asking for large deposits. You should save about 10% for the final payment, which shouldn’t be paid until the job is 100% complete.
There are many warning signs that can arise when trying to choose a home renovations contractor for your Toronto home. These shouldn’t be ignored and if you have a gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right, you could be right.