Summer is almost here and it’s time to get your projects moving. Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? Hiring a contractor can be more stressful than the project itself. Follow these simple tips to ease your stress and enjoy your project.
Draft your plan: Write out a scope of the work and the responsibilities right down to the clean up. Educate yourself first. There are great web sources available at your finger tips.
Check into all permits needed and be aware of any set backs that may come into play.
Each quote should be based on your plan: Apples to apples, so hire a contractor who specializes in that trade. Use local trades where possible and just make sure they have a solid reputation and have been in business for some time.
When you get a written quote (not an estimate!) make sure to check that materials and labour are included in the quote. If using multiple trades, ensure all insurance and WSIB are current for each trade being used. Set a schedule with a start and end date and ask about a warranty.
Set a clear payment schedule: It is very critical to set a payment schedule and down payment amount. Only a small deposit, if any, should be required. Contractors, good reputable ones, all have accounts to buy materials. Payments should be based on stages in the project to completion. NEVER pay up front and never pay in full until the project has been completed and agreed upon by all parties involved in the initial quote.
What If…? Determine how any unforeseen problems will be handled and an alteration to the contract should be made if needed.
Sub Trades: If sub trades are being used, determine who is paying them – you or the contractor you have hired (as they are the sub trades being utilized by the main contractor). A contract with a description of details on materials, labor and the process for the project will be necessary for any sub trades.
Tips to find the right contractor:
• Ask trusted friends and family members for recommendations
• Post on Facebook asking for recommendations
• Look for local and specific knowledge trades – most good contractors are busy, so be prepared for that.
• Ask potential candidates you are considering to share before-and-after photos of similar projects
• Ask if they supply the materials or labour only?
• Ask who is responsible for getting permits and how much?
• Ask if drawings are needed and if so is there a charge and who pays?
• Make sure you get a Quote and not an Estimate.
• Have a clear time frame with your contractor and a schedule commitment
• Get three quotes and remember cheap is not always the best choice
• Keep track of progress and payments based on stages of completion
• Do a PDI (pre-delivery inspection upon completion of the project)
If you follow these steps, your project should be all you hoped it would be.
By Our Resident DIY Guru; Dave Linkert, Port 32 Marshall Homes, Bobcaygeon