5 MUST HAVES when hiring a contractor for your renovation
In the world of contractors, we’ve all heard the horror stories. Contractors “disappearing” after they receive a deposit. “ He said, she said” during the project. Contractors walking off site. Clients not paying. Poor communication and delayed projects. How can we solve these problems? For one, you need to hire the right contractor and do your research. However, there are a few must haves (in our eyes) when deciding which company to hire. Here are our top five MUST HAVES:
Number 1: A contract!!!!!
Yes, that’s right… A contract. Not a piece of paper with a scribbled list of items and a dollar amount. A properly detailed contract should be pages long with fine details on every item involved in your project from the scope of work to a payment schedule. Here are a few key items that should be included in every contract:
Clear scope of work. What tasks are included and not included in the project?
Finished material selections. Items such as tile/hardwood/cabinetry should all be listed with model numbers/finished material forms etc.
A work calendar. This should be added to give the clients a realistic timeline of the project
Payment schedule. This is important so the client knows when the area expected to make a payment in advance (payment dates should be shown on the work calendar as well)
Warranty information on the contracts end. Do they offer one, maybe they don’t?
Permits! Who is applying and obtaining the necessary permits?
Project address, client information, company information etc.
Number 2: A clear and Concrete Design
Being a design build firm with SE7EN INTERIORS, we always start with designing the project within the clients budget. For some more information on how we work, check out OUR PROCESS HERE. We often go look at jobs where the client wants “this” and “that”. They now expect us to be able to quote with this rough information. ROUGH…. Information. What can we do with that? Give a ROUGH budget. For example, if there are no finished material selections or cabinetry drawings, how can we accurately quote ? We cant. Kitchen cabinetry can range from 25k-100k if you really wanted. So what are we supposed to quote on? This is just one example of why designing first is very important to stay within budget. In the intital design phase we typically leave allowances for said items to come up with a budget that the clients are happy with. Now we design, change layouts, play with materials, render everything in 3D and come up with a final design and price. Now the project can start! Imagine not having your kitchen fully designed and selected out. Now the project starts, but your kitchen supplier said he needs and extra 4 weeks to complete the specific details on your kitchen. Now what? The house sits and waits. Proper and planned design = smooth running project!
Number 3: References
Most of our work comes from referrals and work of mouth. This is more or less a reference for our soon to be clients. But, we do also meet completely random people via online marketing, social events, local advertising etc. When they ask us for references we will reach out to our previous clients that went through a similar project. We are more than happy to. If a contractor isn’t able to give you a reference, what is that telling us? Maybe the have never done a job like your planning, or maybe the don’t have any references that are positive. In this day in age its easy to look on a business profile to see their reviews via google, homestars, houzz, facebook etc. In the end, its important to do your homework on the contractor you are potentially going to hire!
Number 4: Insurance/Licenses
Do your research and make sure you are hiring a qualified contractor. Does the area you live in require contractors to be licensed? This does not only apply to the main contractor, but the trades he/she is using. Electricians/plumbers/HVAC technicians must all be licensed. Check your local requirements as they do all vary.
Insurance. General liability for the entire project is a must. Imagine a contractor burns your house down and they have no insurance to cover it? Now what?! Also important is workers insurance. If anyone is injured during the project on your property, you may be liable if they are not covered under WSIB. This is mandatory by law here in Ontario. However, some people like to break the law… Do your research!
Number 5: A physical address or office
Now this isn’t a full deal breaker but it does offer the added security that there is somewhere to go if anything goes wrong. Most of the contractors you hear about on the news that rip off clients are no more than a numbered corporation with a mailbox at UPS. Having a real address and office is just some added insurance that you are hiring an established company. Yes of course they could go out of business, but regardless… its some added protection.
If you are planning any upcoming projects and are in the search of a reliable contractor, feel free to contract us for a consultation. We would be glad to add another happy client to our list! Remember… Do your research before hiring your next contractor!!