Your home is your haven, so you shouldn’t hire just anyone to work on it. We’ve got some advice for finding the right contractor for home repairs.

If you’re ready to take on that kitchen remodelling project, it can be tempting to make an impulsive trip to your local hardware store and dive right into it. However, it can be well worth it to take the time to find and hire a good local contractor to make sure the job is done well.

In this article, we’ve come up with some tips on how to choose a contractor that’s right for you, no matter what type of project you’re taking on.

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How to Choose a Contractor

Tip 1: Start early

The process of finding a good contractor that’s right for you can be a lengthy one, so be sure to plan ahead. This is especially important for projects involving windows or doors — you’ll want to start early in the year in case any setbacks delay the project into winter months, so you aren’t stuck with a gaping hole in the side of your home letting cold air in and warm air out.

It can be tough to find home contractors that are trustworthy, likeable, and capable of doing the job well. However, it’s important to take as much time as you need with this process.

Since contractor jobs can take weeks or even months of work from start to finish, it’s worth it to find someone that you completely trust to spend so much time in your home and around your family.

Pro tip: Remember to check your home warranty before looking into hiring a contractor, as your repairs or home improvements could be fully or partially covered.

Tip 2: Ask for recommendations

Reach out to friends, family, and colleagues to see if they’ve had to hire renovators in the recent past. Ask how their experience was and if they had anything they would have done differently. If they had a good experience, ask for contact information.

If they had a bad experience, you should still ask who they went with, so that you can avoid that company or individual.

Once you’ve got a good list of contractors, read reviews online to see what others say about them and start conducting interviews.

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Tip 3: Conduct interviews

Ask questions about previous jobs and clients, rates, timelines, and other important factors. Always trust your gut during this process. If something feels off about them initially, there’s a good chance it’ll remain throughout the potentially lengthy home renovation process. It can also be a good idea to fact check what they say to ensure that they’re being honest.

Some good questions to ask while conducting interviews to find a contractor are:

  • Can we visit one of your current job sites or renovation projects to see how it’s going?
  • What will you include in our contract?
  • How would you approach this specific project?
  • Do you specialize in any type of projects? If so, what?
  • Can I reach out to one of your previous clients for a reference?
  • Are you willing to provide a background check?
  • What is your home warranty like?
  • If any, what subcontractors or suppliers will you be working with?

For more info on how to conduct an interview, read Before You Hire: 10 Questions to Ask a Contractor.

Tip 4: Make sure your contractor has the correct qualifications

No matter what deal a potential contractor is offering you, it won’t be worth it if they aren’t qualified. Correct documentation and proof of contractor license is a good indication that your contractor is credible and knowledgeable — meaning you won’t have to worry about getting ripped off and end up having to pay for low quality work that will just end up costing you more money in the long run.

Making sure your project manager or general contractor has the proper liability insurance can also save you from potential lawsuits. Suppose something happens to a worker while on your property, or some scaffolding falls into your neighbour’s yard and damages their property. Without the proper insurance in place, you could be held liable for any compensation should legal action be taken against you.

It’s also a good idea to get proof of insurance and a contractor’s license number from whoever you end up choosing, to ensure that their insurance policies and qualifications are up to date and in good standing.

Finally, ensure that between you and your contractor, someone purchases builder’s risk insurance, also known as course of construction, before any work starts. This policy is imperative to prevent any gaps in coverage while a building of any kind is undergoing renovations or construction.

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