Anytime you are investing money into your house, it's important that you choose a qualified contractor. No other decision will have a greater impact on the success or failure of your project.
We recommendation that you include the following minimum guidelines in your contractor selection process.
Start with searching for recommendations. Ask friends or family who have had work done recently and also talk with a local building inspector who'll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements.
Check to make sure the contractor has a permanent place of business, telephone number and tax ID.
Insist on seeing the contractor’s proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance (and make sure the coverage is in effect through the duration of your project).
Call the Better Business Bureau to check for possible complaints filed against the contractor.
Insist on a detailed, written proposal that offers a complete description of the work and job specifications, including approximate start and completion dates and payment terms.
Look for a contractor with a proven track record that offers a list of client references.
You and your contractor will essentially be business partners for the duration of the job, so better choose someone with honesty and integrity!
Here are some questions to think about:
Questions for the Contractor:
How many jobs like this have you completed?
Who will be at the site and how will it be supervised?
Can you give me a timeline?
Can you provide me with an itemized price estimate?
What guarantees can you give me?
Will you obtain all the required approvals during the process? (Remember, if something does go wrong, the chances that they'll cover your claim if the correct permits haven't been pulled is very slim!)
What do you require as a down payment? (The Contractor's State License Board of Canada recommends only a 10 percent down payment, or $1,000 (whichever is less))
What efforts do you take to keep the job site clean and safe for children, and to keep dust out of the living quarters?
Reference Check Questions:
Did you find it easy to communicate with the contractor?
Were the workers as professional and nice as the sales person who sold you the project?
Were you pleased with the quality of work?
Were you comfortable with all of the trade contractors used on your project?
Was the project completed on schedule?
Did the contractor fulfill his contract to your expectations?
Would you use this contractor again without hesitation?
Were the work crews respectful of your property?
Did you receive any complaints from your neighbors about the contractors?