Before picking out paint colours, flooring and fixtures, you first need to shop for a contractor. Since there are no laws in Ontario regulating who can call themselves a contractor, finding a reputable one can be a challenge. eieihome spoke with Nick Malfara, President of Design-Spec Building Group Ltd., a company that specializes in residential renovations and additions in the GTA, for his tips on finding the right contractor.
Look for experience
You wouldn’t hire a bike mechanic to tune your car, so why would you hire a contractor who specializes in flooring to renovate your kitchen? Asking whether your prospective contractor has experience in similar projects of size and scope, how long they’ve been in business, how they communicate weekly progress and how many projects they operate at one time can help avoid disappointment later on.
Find out if they’re members of any associations
Malfara advises asking if your prospective contractor is a member of associations like BILD or RENOMARK. These are volunteer associations that contractors have to qualify for, abide by a code of ethics and pay yearly membership fees to be part of. Members can be removed from the association if complaints by unsatisfied customers are launched. “[The contractor] should also be licensed by the city in which you live,” says Malfara. “If they don’t have a municipal license, that’s your first red flag that they are unaware of what is legally required to operate as a renovator or contractor in your jurisdiction”.
Ask for references
Checking references is a great way to verify if your prospective contractor is legitimate. Make sure you receive references for jobs of a similar scope or dollar value. If you’re taking the roof off your home to build a second storey, you don’t want to receive references for only bathroom renos. When contacting references, ask whether the contractor was on schedule, whether the quality and calibre of the workmanship was satisfactory, and how well the contractor communicated with the homeowner about changes such as backorders on products.
Don’t rely on price only
Sure, we’re all price sensitive to renovation costs, but selecting the contractor with the lowest quote may mean you’re hiring someone who is inexperienced or is skimping on quality when selecting materials. Malfara advises getting three detailed quotes and comparing them based on the same materials, finishes and calibre.
If you’re thinking about renovating your home, check out Design-Spec Building Group Ltd. on our website. They have an online photo gallery and customer reviews from recent home renovation projects.
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