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Choosing a contractor

1024 681 Nisha Muire

Renovations are always exciting. Once you decide that your Toronto home needs a facelift, the next steps obviously include choosing the design for your project and all of the materials and fixtures that will make it what you want it to be. However, translating your vision into reality will require a good, experienced and trustworthy contractor. Choosing a contractor is very much like choosing anything else – you must do your research before hiring anyone.

Start out by asking friends and family if they have used anyone they would recommend. Chances are, someone in your circle will have a contractor to recommend. If no one among your group of friends has any suggestions, look on neighbourhood business boards for local contractors or look online for suggestions in your area. Although it isn’t necessary to hire someone locally, you might have to pay a premium for the travelling a contractor who usually conducts business on the other side of the city will have to do. Some contractors won’t even accept jobs that are not close to them as it is not worth the travel time they lose.

Once you have three or four contractor names, it’s time to set up meetings with them to find out what they can offer you and to see whether you get along. Since these people will be in your home for extended periods of time and will be remodelling the Toronto home you live in, it’s important that you are able to easily communicate what you want.

Get quotes from your shortlisted contractors and make sure those quotes include details of what materials they will provide and what you need to provide. Make sure that the quotes include solid timelines for when they will start and finish the work. They should also have a very clear payment schedule.

When meeting with the contractors be sure that they bring portfolios of the work they have done along with references that you can contact. And, also see if there are gaps in their work history – sometimes gaps are explained by illness or having taken some time off, but if there are too many gaps between jobs, then it is not a good sign. Be sure to contact the references to see if they had a positive experience with the contractor.

Lastly, find out if you could visit current job sites to see how they work. A good contractor will have no problem having you visit.

A few red flags to look for include;
– Not being able to contact them easily
– Having no portfolio of their work or very badly taken photos of their work
– Refusing to give you a solid timeline for when the work will get done
– Refusing to give you references
– Insisting on getting paid either up front in full for the job or demanding the majority of the costs up front
– Bidding too low for the job – it means they will likely be cutting costs somewhere

As with anything else, as long as you do your due diligence and investigate the contractors on your short list, you are sure to find the perfect match for your job.


Nisha Muire

All stories by: Nisha Muire