Choosing a Contractor

Approximately a 2 minute read, posted on March 21, 2021

There are lots of great contractors out there. Here are some tips on making sure yours is one of them.

1

Ask around for referrals

Start by asking people you know. Friends, family and coworkers are an invaluable tool when it comes to getting qualified references. They generally will be truthful and take the time to tell you what their project entailed and if they had any concerns along the way.

2

Check out reviews

Online reviews can be useful but take some vetting. Generic reviews can be untrue in both directions. If you check reviews on multiple sites the chances of authenticity increase. Check with the Better Business Bureau.

3

Research your project

Begin your process by doing some basic research about the terms and standards involved in your project. While nobody expects you to be an expert it never hurts to have some general knowledge of what is involved. At the very least It will help you draft a list of questions to ask.

4

Visit home shows

Another great way to begin your process is to go to a home show. These are generally held in the spring and autumn. They allow you to speak directly with contractors and to get a feel of who they are without having to take a lot of time booking appointments and also saving you the inconvenience of having many of them visit you in your home. You can look at before and after pictures in their booth and usually take pamphlets or catalogs home with you.

5

Ask questions and request references

Once you have a list of possibles then talk to them on the phone. Ask questions about your specific project to make sure the size and scope won’t provide problems. Ask about timelines and see how each responds. If three contractors tell you it’s a month long project and one says they can have it done in a week that could be cause for concern with the latter. Ask them to provide references from previous clients when possible or a list of projects that you could drive by and view when possible (these would obviously need to be exterior projects visible from the street}.

6

Get multiple quotes

The general standard is to get three quotes for a project. This might be excessive if your project is very small but a good idea for a project with a budget that you consider a substantial investment. Meet face to face and ask questions. Your personal judgement on how a contractor presents themselves and if they clearly answer all your questions is a good indication of their competency and how the relationship should unfold.

7

Put your agreement in writing

When you are ready to make your choice agree to a payment schedule in advance and put everything in writing. You probably don’t want your contractor asking for more money every day unless that was agreed upon. While “handshake” deals may be how to like to do business it is a great deal harder to argue a verbal contract than a written and signed one.

As with all things in life there are no guarantees but with a healthy amount of due diligence you greatly increase your chances of a positive experience. As the project draws to a conclusion, consider having MacKenzie Home provide a consultation to ensure the work was performed adequately.

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Chris MacKenzie from MacKenzie Home holding a tablet