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There’s a lot at stake when you plan on hiring a contractor to work on your home, including money and your sanity! There are so many options available and it may be difficult to know who’s worth the investment vs. who’s going to give you a headache. But if you do your research and follow these steps put together by the team at Nick’s Developments, you should be able to find a contractor who’s the perfect match for your next renovation project.

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Collect Several Estimates

When hiring contractors, make sure you get at least three estimates from various contractors. Consider other factors including the timelines, work methods, and building materials that they’ll use to get the job done. This will all be very different based on the contractor you’re interviewing for the job.

Don’t be tempted to take the estimate that’s very low – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The same goes for prices that are too high – be aware and try to go for the estimate that lands somewhere in the middle.

Find Local and Licensed Contractors 

Finding a contractor who works locally is better because if there’s a problem with the work or an issue with money, you can easily locate them at their main office. Local workers are also more likely to know the local building codes.

Never accept to do work with anyone who refuses to leave you with a contract to think about or someone who goes door-to-door offering renovation services.

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Review their Previous Work

There are many questions you should ask when you hire a contractor: Do they specialize in the type of work you’ve asked for? Do they have good examples of work they’ve done in the past? Ask for references from former clients so you can learn more about the quality of work being done.

Do some quick searching with your local Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no red flags that pop up from the company’s history. If you can find a contractor with more than five years of experience, that’s always a better choice than someone with less.

Make Your Decision Wisely

Don’t rush into anything when you’re trying to decide between hiring contractors, especially if there’s a contract involved. If the contractor asks for a big payment before they start the work, that’s a major red flag and you should avoid working with that contractor.

Read all contracts and estimates very carefully. If it’s an emergency repair, and you don’t have the luxury of combing through the contract or getting multiple quotes, ask your family, friends or neighbours to recommend a contractor they enjoyed working with in the past.

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Check Insurance and Bonding

You should never hire a contractor who doesn’t have the right kind of insurance coverage. Ask the prospective contractor for a certificate of insurance or COI. You’ll have the policy number so you can contact the insurance company directly and verify that the coverage is still active.

You can also see how much insurance the contractor is eligible for. Working with an insured contractor means you’ll be financially responsible and liable for any damage that occurs to your own home or neighboring property.

Ensure Contract is Clear

Make sure everything about the project is put in writing with clear expectations. You can also have a lawyer review the document, especially if it’s a very expensive project.

Ensure your contract includes the following: 

  • Guarantees and warranties, including who is responsible and how long those guarantees or warranties are good for. 
  • The approximate start date and finish date on big projects will span multiple days. 
  • The payment schedule, including how much is required upfront as well as the final cost included when the job is complete.
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  • A detailed breakdown of all the work to be done and how much each item of work will cost you.
  • Signatures from the contractor and yourself.
  • Don’t sign a contract with sections that aren’t filled out.

If you need to make any amendments to the contract after the first time it’s signed, all parties must sign those changes off. Be sure to speak with your contractor about building permits to ensure they’ve obtained the right ones. If you decide to cancel a contract, read the print to follow the rules for that contract. Put your cancellation in writing and send it by registered mail for proper proof.

Don’t Pay for Everything

Never pay the total amount for a project before it’s done and you’re fully satisfied with the work. Write cheques and address them to a company name and not a specific person.

Don’t use cash for payment because there’s no proof that payment was made or received. On large projects, a one-third down payment is typically required before work begins to help the contractor pay for labor and materials.

Delays Will Happen

Many home renovation projects will involve some sort of delay. It’s not always your contractor’s fault. It could be weather-related or an unexpected issue encountered in demolition.

It’s important to be patient, realistic, and willing to change your plans.

Keep All Documents on File 

To protect yourself before, during, and after the project, keep all the contracts, correspondence, and other documents in one place.

This will be helpful if you need to refer to them at a later date. This will be especially helpful if there is a disagreement between you and the contractor or if legal action is required.

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Contact Us

Choosing a contractor to work on your home is no easy task. There’s a lot of work that goes into researching, vetting, and ultimately selecting the right crew to work on your home renos. At Nick’s Developments, we make it easy to build the home of your dreams. We are the Greater Toronto Area’s preferred contractors because we are upfront about pricing and transparent about the entire renovation process. We are fully licensed and insured so you have a stress-free renovation experience. Book your consultation today! Contact Nick’s Developments to get started.