What to Ask Your Renovation Contractor

Whether you’ve hired a contractor to remodel your bathroom, renovate your kitchen or do a complete overhaul of your home, it’s important to have as much information as possible so you know what to expect. Before you begin, here are some questions you should be asking to ensure you and your contractor are on the same page.

What are their qualifications?
The contractor you hired likely has an impressive portfolio showcasing sparkling before-and-after images that suggest years of experience and a glowing reputation. Unfortunately, this isn’t always representative of their actual experience in the industry. In the social media age, plenty of small business owners will curate a swoon-worthy online portfolio in order to draw clients in with the allure of marketing. Ask to see qualifications to ensure their training is as impressive as their marketing skills. Read reviews to find out what fellow Canadians have rated them.

What are their specialties?
If your project is heavily specialized, like a master bath renovation, or requires a lot of work, such as a staircase remodeling project, you’ll want to be aware of what your contractor is good at—and what they might be less experienced in. A contractor might be willing to offer you a deal because they’re a friend of a friend, but if they’ve only ever completed minor repairs, you probably won’t want them on board for a full home renovation.

What is their proposed timeline?
One of the most frustrating things that homeowners must contend with when choosing a contractor is getting them to reveal their proposed timeline. Many contractors hesitate to offer this information until they know they’ve scored the job, in case a client decides the project will take a little too long for their liking. Although every renovation project is guaranteed to disrupt your way of living for a while, some contractors are more willing than others to be upfront about how long a project is due to take.

Who do they subcontract work to?
While some small business owners still participate in every stage of the renovation process, many larger scale contractors routinely subcontract work to labourers. Don’t be afraid to ask about the qualifications of the hired crew. A reputable contractor will know his or her employees well and be fully confident in their abilities. If your contractor is deliberately dismissive when pressed for answers about the onsite crew, you can count this as a red flag.

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