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6 Things to consider when choosing a contractor

Whether you’re updating your kitchen, remodeling your bathroom or finishing your basement, here are six things to consider when choosing a contractor. 

Review the company

A contractor’s business background provides insight into their company and the individuals who may be managing your project, says Matthew Brooks, operations lead and partner at Toronto’s South Park Project Management Inc.  

“You want to make sure that whomever you entrust with something as important as your home is a professional and experienced person,” says Group Inc. “Hiring a contractor who doesn’t have the necessary expertise can cause delays to the project timeline and higher than expected costs, as well as technical deficiencies in the execution,” Helmer says. 

Check references

Speak to someone who has worked with the company and find out if there are any concerns. “You want to make sure the contractor has experience with projects like yours and is able to deliver it in a timely and professional way. References are a good way to check that,” Helmer adds. 

Ask about their expertise

Contractors specialize in certain areas and have different styles. Brooks and Eric Adelman, president of South Park, always invite clients to look at their online portfolio for projects that are similar in scale or scope. “It’s important to see that a contractor can produce a high-quality end product and has valid experience with similar-sized projects,” Brooks says. “We also encourage prospective clients to come see a project in person with us. An active job site provides a sense of how a company functions.” 

Talk about logistics

family getting home consultation
kate_sept2004 | iStock

Ask if the contractor uses their own staff or subcontractors and if they include design services or work with independent designers. Find out if they will look after any necessary permits. But be flexible. Construction projects never unfold in a straight line, so be ready for unexpected scenarios. The contractor may also make recommendations based on their expertise and experience. 

Request a written contract

A contract describes the work, number of workers, materials, costs, dates and how changes will be handled. If something goes wrong, the contract can be used by you – or the company – in a legal dispute. 

Trust your instincts

If your feel that you can’t communicate with the contractor, don’t feel embarrassed to walk away and choose someone else, Helmer says. 

Review your policy

After a major renovation, it’s a good idea to review your home insurance policy to ensure you have the proper coverage. Speak with a licensed CAA Insurance Agent – even if you’re with another provider – by calling 1-888-545-7254 or visiting 

Home Insurance is underwritten by CAA Insurance Company. Certain conditions, limitations and underwriting guidelines apply.

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