If you’ve ever thought about renovating or updating your home, then chances are you’ve asked yourself: how do I find a contractor to do this work for me? Whether you have a big renovation job, or a small remodelling job, it can be frustrating to find someone trustworthy and reliable to do the work for you.
Looking for a contractor? Here’s how to get started making a good decision:
What are you looking for?
Knowing what you’re looking for before you even start looking can help save you a lot of time, frustration, and disappointment in the end. For example, if you’re looking to finish your completley undeveloped basement, then you need a general contractor, but if you just want to knock down a wall in your home, you probably just need a handyman.
Since there’s so much construction going on in Toronto, contractors are generally busy, and if you call them for smaller jobs, chances are they won’t be interested or won’t get back to you. If that’s the case, look for a handyman, and you’re likely to have better success finding someone to complete the job.
Look to your inner circle
Asking family and friends is a great way to find someone that people you already know and trust have already had experience working with. If you have the opportunity, instead of just asking them if the contractor did a good job, ask them:
- Did they start and finish the job on time?
- Did the total cost go above the initial estimate?
- Did they do everything they said they would do?
- Did they leave the area clean and tidy?
Look to the Internet
There are a lot of online resources when it comes to finding a contractor, but I’d say the best is Homestars. No matter what type of job you need to get done, you’ll probably find someone on Homestars that can do it, and perhaps even specialize in what you’re looking for. A quick search for contractors in Toronto returns over 1900 results, so there are a lot of options. Just be sure to check out their ratings and reviews. As a general rule, I only like to call people that have a lot of reviews and a high rating, but you shouldn’t go on that alone. There are also a few other contractor review sites, but they aren’t really worth mentioning as they aren’t as well developed as Homestars is.
You could also go with a good old-fashioned Google search. If the company has a Google business page, there might be a few Google reviews written about them as well, which could be another factor in making your decision.
Once you do find someone and you’re researching them, it can’t hurt to do a quick search of the Better Business Bureau database to see if anyone has ever filed a complaint against them, and if so, how serious it was. Remember that there’s a big difference between someone being a little unhappy and someone that feels like they were completley ripped off.
Ask the right questions
No matter how you find a contractor, be sure to interview a few of them and get a few different estimates. Even if you like the first person you meet, you should still do some due diligence and meet with a few different people. When you’re talking to them, here are a few questions you should consider asking them:
- Is there anything that could happen that could bring the cost of the project up from the original estimate?
- Do you have any client references that you can speak to?
- What experience do you have working on projects similar to this one?
- Are you full insured and licensed for the project?
- Can I visit a jobsite for a project that you are currently working on?
Asking the right questions ahead of time can save you a lot of headaches and unexpected surprises later on.
Pass it on
Once the project is complete, it’s good karma to pass on your experience for other people that are looking for contractors; so, whether you had a good experience or a bad one, be sure to write a review on Homestars, their Google Business page, Facebook, or anywhere else you can to help get the word out. After all, a good, reliable contractor is sometimes hard to find, but always in demand.
Do you have any tips on how to find a good contractor? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.