As you already know, one of the main advantages of working with Reno-Assistance is access to our 360° Verified Contractors. Their licences are up to date, they have valid insurance, any complaints against them have been noted, testimonials from previous clients have been checked and any lawsuits against them have been flagged.
You’ll get a full report on each contractor even before they bid on your project. Here’s an example:
The report covers the basics but you may want to dig a little deeper before you making a firm decision – and you should feel comfortable doing just that. If you’re going to spend that much money on someone’s expertise and skill, you’ll want to start the relationship from an open and honest place.
Below is a list of useful questions to ask the contractors on your shortlist. The goal of these questions (and any others you’d like to add) is to get a much clearer idea of who these contractors are, what you can expect and, ultimately, who you’d most want to have working on your project.
1. Now that I’ve spoken to you in detail about my project, do you have any suggestions for me?
An experienced contractor can provide you with great suggestions for your project. However, not all contractors will feel comfortable offering some up suggestions if you don’t ask. For instance, if you tell a contractor you plan on covering your walls in carpeting to help with soundproofing, some will simply give you a quote for it because it’s what you asked for. Others, though, will offer up some more attractive options. The fact that they are willing to suggest better should always be well perceived. If they mention that some of the changes you plan on making aren’t necessary, that’s a sign that they’re trustworthy. If they’re willing to make less money off of you, that’s shows that they’re a good contractor and have your interests at heart.
2. If this was your home or building, what would you do?
Help the contractor visualize the project by putting them in your shoes. This will show them you’re looking for the best suggestions and you’re serious about hiring someone who understands what you need.
Looking for ideas for your next project? Check out real projects with their pictures and price tags on our Reno-Inspiration page.
3. How long will the job take?
Every contractor has their own way of getting work done. Some have small teams, while others have rather large ones. Your project’s timeline will therefore most likely vary from one contractor to another – which might have an impact on who you choose to take on your renovation.
4. When can you begin working on my reno project?
Every contractor has their own schedule and different projects going on at the same time. It’s important you ask them when they can begin the work to make sure it fits with your schedule and timeline. Keep in mind that working with an amazing contractor is surely worth the wait.
5. Who will be my main contact and who will be carrying out the work?
It’s important you know who to call if you need to talk to someone. Ideally, you’ll want to work with one person. A general contractor can call on subcontractors to work on some parts of your project, so it’s important you ask this question. Knowing who is working on what will make sure you’ll know who to talk to if something comes up.
6. Who’s responsible for protecting the worksite and moving the furniture?
Contractors are not movers. From the very start, you need to distinguish who will be moving your furniture out, and whether the service is included in your quote. Worksite protection is usually included in the quote you’re provided with, but you should also double-check to what degree it will be protected and what will be used to protect your space.
Remember: the best surface protection in the world probably won’t prevent dust. Dust is practically inevitable. Your renovation’s final result will be so wonderful the dust won’t even be an issue anymore anyway!
7. Does the signed quote become the binding contract or will there be a separate contract presented once the quote has been accepted?
Every detail should be outlined in the contract. If the contract is different from the quote, ask to see it before accepting the submitted quote so that you can read through each individual clause and make sure you’re okay with everything outlined in the contract. Your Renovation Advisor can help you if you have questions.
8. Is it possible to see similar renovations you’ve completed?
Depending on your renovation project, you’ll most likely want to see what your chosen contractor can do. Ask them if they have a portfolio they can show you or a website you can visit (if the contractor has a site, the link will be included in the verification report that we will send you before you meet the contractor).
9. Are there specific suppliers I should get materials from?
If you have tiles, cabinetry, wood, plumbing or other materials you need to pick out for your renovation, it’s possible that your contractor will refer you to specific suppliers they work with. You’ll want to know who they are and where they’re located seeing as you’ll have to go there to make your choices. Seeing who your contractor does business with give you a better sense of what kind of relationships he builds with others – most likely indicating his level of professionalism.
10. Could the price of the project go up during the work?
Ask the contractor if they foresee any circumstances that could up the total price quoted for your project. It’s best to be aware of any potential risks from the beginning.
11. What percentage of the project will you pay at each installment and when will payments be?
Although we suggest our contractors ask for the smallest upfront down payment possible with a maximum of 15% of the total cost, however they’re free to ask for what they wish. We strongly suggest you don’t pay more than 15% upfront (i.e. on day one of renovations). Throughout the project, ideally, you’ll only pay for work that’s completed. By paying for your renovation this way, you can easily switch to another contractor if you find yourself in a situation where the contractor runs into snags or isn’t delivering.
12. Who is responsible for clean-up and debris disposal?
Some contractors include garbage and debris collection, whereas others will leave that to you. Some will call on a clean-up team to be sure to leave you with a spotless home, and others do the bare minimum and leave you responsible for the clean-up to save on costs. Discuss this upfront so you know what you’re on the hook for at the end.
Minimize risks and save time & energy
By working with Reno-Assistance 360° Verified Contactors, you’ll know they’re licensed, solvent, well-regarded and trustworthy. You’ll get a fair quote and you’ll have an Advisor with you every step of the way, starting with comparing the quotes you get so that you can make an informed decision. You have nothing to lose; our service is free and without obligation!