For any home renovation, whether its a major project or you’re just having some minor changes and upgrades done on your property, the first step is probably the most important. Before you do anything, you will want to make sure you’ve hired a contractor that is not only right for the job, but the right fit for you as well. There are many key factors to keep in mind when choosing your contractor. To help keep everything straight for yourself when the time comes to hire a contractor for your next project, be sure to review the following helpful tips listed below. So how to choose the best plumber in Kelowna?
Make Your Initial Renovation Plans
Whether you’re looking to have a bathroom renovated, your kitchen redone, or your whole home given a complete, top to bottom upgrade, the first step to take is to narrow down exactly what kind of work you want done. You don’t need to go into any major detail at this point, but giving yourself an idea of what you want the finished product to look like at the end of the project will help you narrow down exactly what you are looking for in a contractor. For example, if you decide you want to completely redo your bathroom, it is probably wise to seek a contractor with some plumbing and electrical experience and credentials on Kelowna.
When you provide a potential contractor with a solid idea of exactly what you expect to see once renovations are completed, it gives them a chance to assess whether or not they will be able to handle the project. It will also go a long way towards giving you a clear idea of how long the project will take, so you can plan your schedule accordingly. This will also make it easier for an organized and motivated contractor to get back to you promptly with an accurate quote for the entire project.
Research Your Candidates
Once you decide what kind of work you want completed, its time to start the search for the Kelowna person who will complete it. For the most part, any plumbing contractor in Kelowna you are interested in hiring will likely have a website with examples of their past work. This is often a good starting point, as it will give you a clearer picture about what type of work a contractor is familiar with. You can also start to get an idea about how organized a contractor is based on the quality of their website and how frequently it is updated with examples of past work. If you find a contractor with a website that hasn’t been updated in a few years, this might be an indication of a lack of organization or quality work. Third party reviews are also very helpful as a starting point for research. These days, even social media websites like Facebook feature some reliable reviews that you can take into account when choosing your contractor.
An online search is a great place to start, but it isn’t the only place to find a quality contractor. Be sure to ask friends, family and neighbours for suggestions based on contractors they’ve hired in the past. It is also a great idea to search local business directories for locally based contractors. If you find a contractor in your area who has been working there for a long time, that’s usually a good indication of that particular contractor’s overall quality.
Narrow Your Choice
By now you probably have a few options in mind after completing your initial research. Now its time to narrow your selection to just a few of your top choices. Ideally you should end up with about three different contractors who will give you three different quotes for the same project after you narrow down your choices. A great way to start narrowing your choices is to look for any credentials or specializations a particular candidate may have that sets them apart from the others. You will also want to ask questions about things like financial references, previous clients and projects, subcontractors and if they are working on any other projects simultaneously.
The answers to these questions will help you see how reliable (or unreliable) that contractor is likely to be. With accurate information along these lines, you will also be able to check for things like liens or unpaid 3rd party bills (such as materials) from a contractor’s previous projects. If a contractor does have unpaid bills and/or a lien against him, or if he is unable to provide information relevant to previous projects and financial references, this is a sign that you should move on to the next candidate.
Meet in Person
Meeting your contractor in person is an excellent way to see first hand if this is someone you can see yourself having a working relationship with. On any project, no matter how big or small, communication is vital to ensure that your renovation is completed on time, on budget and to your exact specifications. An in-person meeting to discuss the project will also give you a chance to request references, as well as any samples of past work that is similar to your project. A contractor that is open and forthright about their previous work is not only helpful, but is someone you will more than likely feel comfortable with from the start of the project.
During the interview, be sure to inquire about the following important details:
- Contact Info: Whether they operate out of an office, or from a personal phone number and address, contact information should be consistent and they should be available during business hours.
- Licensed and Insured: It is extremely important to only hire contractors that are fully licensed and insured. Without the proper insurance and a valid contractor’s license, you can be exposed to all kinds of liability that can end up costing you in the future, or during the project if something goes wrong, or someone gets injured on your property.
- Professional Designations: We previously discussed the benefit of hiring contractors with special certifications for certain projects. The interview process will give you a chance to inquire about any certifications and how they can benefit you on your upcoming project.
After you complete the interview and the contractor has finished his assessment of the project, you should be able to take steps towards getting a final quote for the entire renovation.
One of the most important facts to keep in mind when comparing quotes is to pay close attention to the details. You can narrow your selection right away based on the amount of detail a contractor provides you with in their quote. For the most part, 40% of a project’s cost is devoted to material, with the remaining amount dedicated towards labour, transport and the typical sales mark up which is usually around 15-20%. Any quote that does not outline these costs for you likely comes from an inexperienced or unorganized contractor who is unlikely to be your best choice.
One other thing to keep in mind when making your choice is the fact that more often than not, you will get what you pay for. This means that while the cheaper option might be best for your budget, you may not be as pleased with the final result. Contractors that give cheaper quotes often are able to undercut their competitors by skimping on things like materials and skilled labour. While this doesn’t mean that the most expensive option is always best, it is usually a good idea to avoid choosing the low ball quote.
Get a Quote and Work Schedule in Writing
After your quotes are compared and you’ve made your final choice about who to hire, it is time to draw up the contract for your project. This final stage is one of the most important because if any issues or inconsistencies arise during the project, you will want to be able to refer back to the original agreements you made on the contract. Before you sign off on anything, make sure you have a contract that includes the following:
• The project plan laid out in detail with a sequential schedule of all construction tasks and any pertinent information about each task.
• A payment schedule and total bid price.
• A change-order clause for any unforeseen changes that need to be made during the project that affect the cost along with a dispute-resolution clause.
• An express limited warranty.
• A waiver of any liens that protects you from any liens placed on your home by a subcontractor or supplier due to non-payment.
After getting everything in writing, and if you’re feeling confident and satisfied with the preparations, its time to sign off on the project and get started!