When you’re choosing the renovation contractor to perform home renovations, you’re essentially interviewing potential candidates as you would for any job.
However, since there are many names of general contractors in Toronto for home renovations when you do a search, how do you narrow down the field?
First of all, make sure the contractor is willing to provide a free estimate, without putting any pressure on you to give money up-front before reaching an agreement. Those can be red flags right from the start.
When you’re narrowing down your pool of candidates, check to see if they have past projects on their website, or at least some kind of portfolio they can show you. Ask for references, or check for testimonials or reviews of the company online.
Remember, a general contractor is one that will take care of all of the details involved in completing the renovation. If they tell you they can only handle one aspect of the job – say drywalling for example – and expect you to hire your own plumber or electrician, that’s a problem. They should also buy all of the materials needed for the job, and not expect you to shop for anything.
You can usually get a pretty good impression of a renovation contractor up front when you meet a potential candidate. Did they arrive to assess the job site on time, or make an excuse for being late? Imagine how the project will go if they’re late for their estimate visit (unless they have a very good excuse). Did they smile and greet you when you answered the door, or are they pointing out other things that need improvement that you didn’t initially discuss (in other words, are they trying to up-sell you)?
The ideal candidate will also give you a confident timeline and what to expect during the work, such as whether you’ll be able to use the space during the work or if you should make temporary arrangements. A good Toronto contractor will keep an open line of communication and won’t belittle you for asking questions; no matter how obvious the answers seem to them.
Once you think you’ve chosen the right candidate, make sure they have all of the appropriate insurance in case they damage your home accidentally. Ask to see their certificates of insurance just to be sure. Also make sure any subcontractors they use – particularly plumbers and electricians – are licensed.
Price is a factor in any decision, but the lowest bid definitely doesn’t mean they’re the best renovation company in Toronto. Expect to pay a bit more for attention to detail, excellent customer service, and a job well done – which can actually save you money in the long run, especially if you have to pay more to have a shoddy job fixed later!