Before You Hire A Contractor


When searching for a contractor to do any type of renovation to your home, there are some key items to help you find a reputable company that will do quality work. There are numerous ways to check if a contractor is reputable and in the long run may save you some headaches.

Most governments usually require that contractors have a valid license. You can check if a contractor has a valid license by calling your local building department.

All contractors should have insurance to properly cover them in event of any accidents causing damage to people or to your property. If a contractor does NOT have insurance, you stand a chance of being liable for any accidents on your property.

View Portfolio
Some contractors will put together a portfolio of the work they have previously completed. Ask if they have a portfolio and view the pictures and information in it. This will provide you with a better idea of what the contractor is capable of.

Check References
Ask the contractor for a list of references and take the time to contact them, or view the project they had completed. Here are some questions that you should ask the references.

  • How was the quality of the workmanship?
  • Did the contractor stay on budget with their original estimate?
  • Did the contractor use a change of order form for any changes?
  • Did the contractor complete the job with the expected time frame?
  • How were their attitudes when problems arose?
  • Did they keep the work area safe and clean?
  • Would you use this contractor again?

Payment Schedules
Discuss with the contractor how they require payment, and get it in writing. Most contractors will require a deposit which could be as much as 50%. Remaining payments may be certain percentages as different stages of work are completed. Avoid paying a contractor with cash, paying by cheque or credit card will enable you to track payments and purchases for any project.

Do not decide on a contractor because they have the lowest price, especially if the estimate is extremely low. Consider all the factors when making your final decision: price, references, professionalism, etc. As the saying goes, sometimes you get what you pay for.