How to Choose a Building Contractor

Finding a professional building contractor

For most homeowners, the hardest part of any home renovation project isn’t the work itself, it’s finding a competent and reliable contractor to do the job. Installing kitchen cabinets, knocking down a wall or re-tiling the bathroom is simple compared with the struggle of hiring a quality contractor who will perform at a high level from start to finish let alone a competent builder than can undertake larger projects.

Everyone has heard stories about horrendous contractors who tore apart the kitchen and never returned or projects that cost three times the contractor’s original estimate.

Those are the nightmare kind of stories we hear all the time.

Even with a good contractor, renovations can be stressful, expensive and involve unpleasant surprises, such as rotted subfloors that are revealed when tiles are removed or dangerous electrical wiring or leaking pipes behind walls.

Choosing the right contractor can make the difference between a successful home renovation project and a disaster. But even for experienced builder finding the right contractor can be a challenge.

It can be difficult to hire contractors and know what you’re getting. You’re spending a lot of money, and you’re dealing with your home. If they do it wrong, there can be a whole lot of heartache.

If you’re doing a big project, you’ll need a reputable contractor, who may hire subcontractors for specialty work such as plumbing and electrical. Homeowners with renovation experience sometimes work as their own general contractors, hiring specific tradespeople for each job. While this may save you money, it can be time-consuming and will mean multiple contractor searches instead of just one, since you’ll have to find a specialist for each smaller job.

Whichever way you go, there are steps you can take to find the right contractor while still keeping your budget – and your sanity – under control. Here are tips to help you find a contractor who will get the job done right.

1. Know what you want before you get estimates

Start with a plan and some ideas. Architectural drawings and approved plans on bigger projects are key. Leave nothing for second guess or chance! Don’t start by talking to contractors. You’ll get a more accurate estimate if you have a very specific plan and structural drawings to go from.

2. Work with Construction Experts

We only work with competent, vetting and professional building contractors. We have purposely made our criteria and vetting process difficult to ensure only those of a certain calibre undertake building work endorsed by us. We personally validate and check an array of checks including credit searches, testimonial checks, insurance documents and validate past/present work.

3. Compare at least 3 quotes

Ask a lot of questions and get a written quote from each contractor we provide. When you compare quotes, make sure each one includes the same materials and the same tasks, so you’re comparing apples and apples. Get three quotes even if you have a contractor you like because you’ll learn something from each. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. While you might do some haggling at the onsite visit, be prepared to do most of the negotiation after you get the bid and before you sign the contract.