Seven Questions to Ask Your Contractor before Starting a Renovation

Renovating or remodelling your home is a huge undertaking. There seem to be hundreds of things to consider—your budget, your style, your timeline and most importantly, your contractor.

Finding the right contractor can be the deciding factor on whether or not your renovation is a success. You’ll be spending a lot of time with whomever you choose and you’ll be living with their work for a long time to come.

When you’re interviewing contractors, be prepared with questions that will help you make an informed decision. After all, this is your home you’re welcoming someone into—you want to be comfortable with them and confident that they will give your project the attention it deserves.

1. Can you provide references?

This question is about more than just seeing past projects and work—although that is important. You want to really dig into your potential contractors past to ensure they are properly licensed for the work you’re requesting. You’ll also want to find out if the contractor has ever declared bankruptcy or if anyone has ever taken legal action against them

A great way to ensure your contractor has all the appropriate business licences is to go with a RenoMark™ member. Members are required to be legitimate businesses and to subscribe to the association’s general Code of Ethics plus a renovation-specific Code of Conduct.

It’s important to ask for references and contact those references to get their honest opinion of the contractor and their work. Try to get references with relevant experience—if you are having your kitchen redone, it would be most beneficial to speak with someone who also had their kitchen redone, as opposed to their master bedroom.

2. Who will be on site each day?

Depending on the size of the company and the size of your project, the answer to this question will vary greatly. Ask your potential contractors who will be responsible for supervising the site during the day, who will be your direct contact and who will be opening and locking up the site.

3. How will we communicate?

In a world where we can text, email, call and direct message, it’s important to understand how you’re contractor will communicate with your on a daily basis. Most contractors will have an established method of communication that they prefer to use. Be sure you understand and are on-board with how you will communicate with one another before choosing your contractor.

4. How will I reach you in case of an emergency?

While you can’t expect your contractor to be available for every small issue that arises 24/7, you do need a way to reach them if there is an emergency. Exchange numbers to ensure that whether they are having an emergency or you are, you can both reach one another.

5. Can I get it in writing?

This is essential. A contractor needs to provide a written contract with all of the details of your project including costs, dates and what you expect from the project. If a contractor isn’t willing to provide a written contractor, simply put, move on to your next prospect.

6. Do you foresee any problems with my project?

You’ve set out a meticulous plan of what you want your renovation to be. But you’re hiring a contractor because they are an expert in their field—if there is something in your project that sets off alarms for them, it’s better to get it out in the open early. You can run worst-case scenarios and troubleshoot before the possible issue becomes an actual problem.

7. What do you need as a down payment?

A down payment is standard practice. The industry benchmark, established by the Contractor’s State License Board of Canada, is a 10% down payment. Remember that a stable company won’t need to take a 50% deposit from you to actually get the work done.

Now that you’re armed with the questions you need to ask your contractor, why not give us all at Attard Construction. We’d be more than happy to answer these questions and any others you may have.