If you’re like most people, getting a quote for a renovation can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. How do you find good contractors to quote the job, how do you compare quotes with each other, how do you proceed with a contractor and protect your investment? These are all concerns many home owners face, and it’s important to have a strategic answer to each one of these questions.
For example, let’s say you want to finish your basement, or convert your basement into a legal basement apartment. It’s important to know a few guide lines for this project and it’s always best to first contact the city to find out if you require a permit or not (a permit ‘is’ required here in Southern Ontario, and I will post a future blog on obtaining permits, and proper procedures in the near future). When you’re at the city, ask them as many questions as you can… they may not be allowed to answer all of them (references for contractors for example), but the more you know the better.
Once you know your legal requirements, it’s time to find a contractor. The truth… there’s no magic formula on finding a great contractor, so the best strategy is to vet the contractors you do find. For example, it’s easy for a contractor to post an amazing website, or have great reviews on a site, or even get referred to you as they could have done 1 amazing project and got a referral from it to you, but none of those things means they’re the right fit for you. This is because all those things can be fabricated or manipulated… so it is critical that you meet with a few contractors, talk with them, listen to them, and do your homework on them.
To figure out which contractor is best for you, the first step is paying attention to the small details. Did they show up to your appointment on time, are they clean, presentable? These things tell a lot about how they respect your time and your home by doing things like removing their boots before walking in your home. Next, have a conversation with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the renovation or not… you’re trying to assess if you can communicate effectively with them. Over the years, I have seen many contractors who do amazing work, and they get horrible reviews because they didn’t communicate properly to the customer (if the contractor only completes half the work you thought he was supposed to, even if it’s done well, you’re not likely to be happy). The flip side can be true as well… if a contractor does “so so” work, but you thought you were getting even less because he communicated that to you… then you’re likely to be happy, and provide a great review. Communication is everything, so it’s important to know you can communicate with your contractor.
Lastly, once you’ve had a few contractors in to interview, review their quotes, ask key questions such as how long they intend this project should take to complete, how their procedures work such as working hours and home access, and make sure you get references. This should allow you to filter the choices to the top 2, and at that point, it is SO important… go see their references. Talk to the previous customers and ask them questions like “did the contractor finish on time”, “were they clean and respectful of your home”, “did they run into challenges and how were they resolved”.
If you follow these steps, you greatly increase your chances of having a pleasurable experience with your renovation needs. Sadly, from my experience, people mostly follow the first section of these guide lines… but rarely ever follow the last suggestion which is follow up with references. So don’t become another statistic… do your homework on the contractor, and unlock the full potential of your home.
Bildam Home Improvements
We Build Quality
Specialists in building custom decks and legal finished basements since 2010, Bill and Adam have been working together and proudly putting smiles on client’s faces for over 10 years now. Our motto is “we build quality”, and we are proud of the work we do and the high satisfaction levels of our clients.
Bildam Home Improvements also provides building permit services to alleviate the difficulty and responsibility of this process. Permits are an important aspect of any renovation, and we make sure everything is done to code, and make sure this process is one less thing you have to worry about as a client.
Our goal is to make the experience of hiring a contractor an enjoyable one so you’ll refer us to your friends and family over and over again.
Contact us for a free estimate today!