Here are some general guidelines to help you if you are planning major renovations, or if you are hiring a tradesperson or service professional to tackle any project around the home.
1. Get Referrals. Family, friends, and neighbours can give names of trades professionals they have used and make a list of companies that service your area.
2. Get in touch. Once you have made a list, call them and ask about the types of projects they specialize in. Ask how many other projects they are managing at the moment, so that it can give you an idea on whether it will impact when they could begin working for you if you choose them.
3. Research your options. Contact Consumer Protection Agency to check the reputation of the companies on your list. Check on-line reviews, if possible call previous clients and ask specific questions. Ask the company to show you some of the completed projects. Check to see if the companies you are narrowing down are licensed, if they are not you could be putting yourself at risk.
Some questions you could ask when narrowing down include:
How long have you been in business? Have you done projects similar to what I am proposing?Does your company carry insurance? Are you bonded? Who will supervise the project on-site? Do you subcontract any of the work? What efforts are taken to ensure the site is clean and safe? Who will be my contact for job progress & changes?
Before Work Begins
Figure out payment. Milestone payments are helpful as a time to review the projects status and ensure your expectations are being met. For Large projects, some pay 10% upon signing, and then pay 25% over 3 milestone payments. The final 15%is due at completion.
Time: If you require work to be done during certain windows of time, along with the approximate overall time should be discussed beforehand.
Expectations. Be fully aware what you are expected to do. Perhaps you may have to board a pet, or clear a room before work can commence.
Get everything in writing. This should include a payment schedule, proof of insurance, start and completion dates, detailed description of the project highlighting what materials and what jobs are being subcontracted, building permits and code compliance, warranty statements and length, and the contractor's liability and property damage insurance.