Growing up, my father owned a small residential contracting business. I spent most of my summers as a youth working on his job sites. I started by cleaning up garbage and bringing materials and tools to him and his team, as I got older I assisted with a wide assortment of projects on the sites and sometimes helped out other trades as well. I wasn’t aware at the time, but over the many summers I picked up home improvement knowledge and developed skills that come in handy still today. I am not a professional contractor, but I am a pretty handy DIYer, so it is no surprise that many of my friends turn to me for help or advice with their home improvement projects. Recently I had someone ask me for a referral for a good basement waterproofing company, this actually caught me off guard. I didn’t have a trusted contractor I could direct him to, but I did offer to help him find one.
This is what led me to write this article. If you have ever gone online to search for a contractor to help with any project you know that the options are limitless. There are companies that paid to be shown first, there are maps to show the closest contractor, and there are hundreds of options from then general handyman to highly specialized contractors. One thing is for sure, they do not all of the same quality of work and value. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so I put together to help you choose the best contractor for your needs.
With the exception of an emergency situation, you will have time to formulate an idea of what you want your project to accomplish and how it should ideally function. Do some research on what you are looking for, knowledge is power and you don’t want to start interviewing contractors without having an above-average understanding of what the project entails.
A contractor’s experience will be a big factor in choosing the right company for your job. For me, I always look for someone that specializes in the type of project I am looking for assistance with. Not to say a general contractor couldn’t do good work, but a specialist has probably already dealt with and completed the same project as mine multiple times. Look at how long the company has been in business, and inquire about if they complete all the work with their own employees or if they sub-contract jobs to others. If they have their own crew and complete all the jobs themselves is a good indicator that if there is an issue down the road, the company will be able to support you.
Today, more than ever before it is easy for people to share their experiences. That Google search that I started my quest with also provided a look into the experiences of others through their reviews. What others have to say about a contractor’s workmanship, quality, reliability, customer service should not be taken lightly. Carefully read through the reviews to understand the outcomes you can expect by hiring a specific contractor. Google is a great start, but your deep dive into the reputation of a contractor should stop there, look to sites like BestVoted.ca to see which contractors people in your city voted the best in their industry.
Don’t ignore your gut, chances are you will meet with your potential contractor a couple of times prior to hiring them. You need to be comfortable with this individual being in and around your home as well as working around you and your family. If you do not feel comfortable or do not have 100% trust in this individual, keep looking. They may have a 5-star ranking, and your friends may have told you about the great work they did for them, but if you don’t fully trust your contractor, you will never be fully satisfied with your project.
After you have completed your due diligence and found a contractor with a good reputation, the right experience and that you are comfortable with, look to the contract solidifies a great working relationship. The contract should detail all aspects of the job. There are different styles of contracts out there and no matter what is presented, you should read through every line. Look for key details like the scope of the project, total costs, brands of items being installed, timeline, and aesthetic details such as colour and finishes. If the contract doesn’t highlight everything you spoke about, ask for the missing items to be added. This will help avoid any potential surprises. If everything is covered, you should have a finished project that meets your expectations.