Once your project starts your contractor will become a familiar face around your home for weeks and even months. Often while your family are away for the day. Trust is a big factor here. Choosing the contractor takes intuition and common sense. The checklist below deals with the technical side.
Clarify your Project in your Mind First
Prepare a simple sheet with your project goals. Consolidate your expectations and your wishes. Are you doing all your bathroom or just half? Are you going average or high end? What types of materials and products will you use? A realistic summary will help your contractor too. The clearer your scope is the better you’ll be prepared when you start talking to a few contractors.
Budget – Know What you Have to Spend
Know how much you have to spend whether cash in the bank or available on credit. Many homeowners don’t have a clear idea of what jobs cost, which is fine, but then they start getting quotes from five or six contractors before deciding the cost is more than they can afford. It’s frustrating and time consuming for everyone concerned. Know up front what you have to spend.
Narrowing the Contractor List
Referrals from others who have cleared the path for you is a great way to find a contractor that has passed the trust test.
Online searches will provide you with the top ten listed websites. Some you might already recognize. Make a short list and enquire.
Talk to a Few Contractors
Call up a few contractors and be honest that you’re just starting out and are trying to get some rough budget costing information by phone first. Let the contractor know you are serious and let him know your actual budget. Let him know you’ll be asking him for a quote but first you have some questions.
Most contractors will welcome knowing you’re serious and have a budget. He’ll ask you for the scope of your project and should be able to provide a price range over the phone. If you strike a chord ask him if he’d be interested to provide a quote. Let him know you’ll be getting a few others as well.
When he comes over, sit down for a few minutes at a table for a quick introductory discussion, then onto the subject area to measure up and scope out the project. Ask him if he’ll be delivering the quote in person or emailing. In person is best to get a more detailed explanation but emailing is quite common these days.
You’ll go through this process two or three times. Getting more often is not productive and just gets confusing.
Once you’ve finished getting your estimates, time to analyze. Good quotes are reasonably close in price. Be wary of extremely low or high bids that stand out. More doesn’t always mean better quality and low can mean poor quality and other issues. If you’re still not sure, get another quote.
Credentials are Critical
Every estimate and contract in Alberta requires certain basic information on the signing documents. Legal company name, contact information, email addresses, city and provincial licencing, WCB, insurance and bonding information are the main ones.
You can ask for proof of licence and insurance, etc. Any legitimate contractor will have this information on hand. Dealing with registered licensed companies helps ensure you’re not just kissing your deposit goodbye.
The contractor’s documents should generally look professional. Fancy is not as important as clear and concise. There is no excuse today for pencil and paper documents.
Two or three estimates are usually sufficient. Estimates should show the scope of work and the total price and taxes.
The contract agreement should show be on the company letterhead with the agreed price, dates and signed by all parties.
Making the Final Decision
For most people personality counts and much of our decisions buy products or services is based on our comfort level and trust in the people we deal with. Like it or not, most of us go by gut feel and usually our instincts bear us out.
Combine that with the techniques above and your renovating experience should be much better.
At Bath and Home Renovations we have over 27 years experience and we employ skilled trades and technicians for all our projects. If you have a home project you’d like to start, give us a call at 403-560-8015 and Chris or I will be happy to drop by and give you a quote.