Hiring A Contractor For The First Time? Remember These 7 Tips


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Owning property is fun until something breaks. Your home may need repairs, renovations or upgrades that require experience outside your skill set. It’s better not to push your luck, especially with potentially dangerous work like electrical wiring. That’s when you need to hire a contractor.

Contractors are independent workers with skills that address unique needs, like dealing with plumbing problems or fixing drywall. Use these tips to hire a contractor for the first time with confidence. You’ll know you’re getting a great deal and feel prepared for every step.

1. Read The Reviews

People treat their experience with contractors differently than they might food or package delivery workers. Contractors rely on reviews to generate additional business, so you’ll find numerous ones for workers with experience.

Always read the reviews, even when you think a contractor looks like the perfect fit for your job. A disgruntled former client or overjoyed homeowner could mean the difference between a great experience and a nightmare.

2. Search Numerous Sites

Anyone can quickly find a website where contractors post information about their businesses or freelance availability. However, comparing the results on similar sites could help you find more experienced workers that fit within your budget or time frame.

You should spend time browsing popular contractor sites to compare fees and services, like:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Guru
  • LinkedIn
  • Toptal

You can always ask friends and family for recommendations if you struggle to find a listing that meets your needs. Post your inquiry on social media to generate feedback as well. You’ll quickly find contractors who may be able to help you.

3. Get Multiple Quotes

Submit requests for quotes once you have two or three contractors in mind. They may prefer you do this by email or a form on their websites. You should include crucial information to get the most accurate quote, such as:

  • The type of work you’re requesting
  • The possible extent of the job
  • When you need it finished

Multiple quotes allow you to compare prices and find the most suitable contractor candidate. It’s also an excellent way to weed out scammers, who will request an immediate decision and down payment after sending their quote.

4. Ask Important Questions

Contractors are used to meeting with potential clients and answering any questions they may have. Prepare a list of questions for the contractors with the most suitable quotes to better understand their experience and skill level. You could ask questions like:

  • How long have you been working?
  • Are you licensed to operate in my city?
  • Will you get the necessary permits for my project?

Additionally, you should inquire about factors like if their quote includes labour and warranty fees, which some contractors leave out to make their initial quotes more competitive. The more you know, the better choice you can make for your project.

5. Request A Timeline

No one wants to start a contracting project and deal with it for weeks or months longer than necessary. Talk with your contractors about the timelines they estimate for your job. They should be able to provide a starting and end date, plus dates in between for progressive work. You’ll better understand how quickly they can complete your job so you can go back to enjoying fun dates with your partner, travelling or enjoying being in your home.

6. Contact Your HOA

Homeowners associations (HOAs) are less common in Canada, but you may need to abide by a condo corporation’s rules if you live in a condo or applicable townhome. The Condominium Act allows these corporations to set different rules per property to protect residents’ health and well-being. The restrictions for your home may include limitations on which upgrades you can make to your living space.

Research the laws specific to your province to ensure your contracting work follows all rules. If you didn’t sign an agreement with a corporation when you signed for your living space, you likely don’t need to run your project by any organization.

7. Get Everything In Writing

No one wants to get involved in a lawsuit over miscommunication, misunderstandings or purposeful deception. That’s why your contractor’s quote should include a written list of their services and proposed timeline. The final contract should have all that as well.

You should review any paperwork you receive for details you’ll need in writing if things were to go wrong, such as:

  • Your contractor’s name and contact information
  • The timeline and services included
  • A breakdown of all associated costs
  • Proof that your contractor has active business liability insurance
  • The contractor’s active business license number

If you need to sue for any reason or defend yourself in court, you’ll have paperwork saved that proves exactly what you signed up for when you paid for the work.

Hire A Great Contractor

You don’t need to worry about hiring a contractor for the first time. Use these tips to make the process easy. You’ll quickly find the best professional for your job and get great results for your time and investment.

About The Author:

Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Check out @TModded for regular updates! 

This blog post may contain links to external websites or products. We encourage you to do your own research to make sure a company or product is right for you.

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