Choosing the Right General Contractor

A general contractor is a full-service renovation company that works on major home renovation projects.  They are like a project manager. If you are planning on renovating your basement, for example, a contractor will make sure all of the framing, electrical, plumbing, dry-walling, flooring, painting and other tasks involved in the renovation are taken care of. You won’t have to go to each individual company to hire services or choose materials.

Choosing the wrong general contractor can lead to sub-par work, delays in the renovation and even financial or legal problems. If you pick the wrong contractor, you might also get a bill that is way over your budget and the original quote you received before the work began. In another worst-case-scenario, you could end up with a disaster and have to hire another company to come fix the mess.

Edmonton general contractors share some tips for hiring the right general contractor:

Get Recommendations

Ask your friends and family if they would recommend a good general contractor they have used in the past. If you don’t get any recommendations there, ask any trades or renovation-related companies you trust and have previously worked with for recommendations. You can also check accreditation websites like RenovationFind.com.

Check out online reviews, but be wary of them. Some online reviews might not be entirely accurate and some could be made up entirely. Some companies actually pay online reviewers to post a positive review, even if they’ve never used their services. Other review sites give higher ratings to companies that purchase online advertising on their site. Though online reviews can be helpful, it’s not recommended that you make your decision based on them entirely.

Conduct Phone Interviews

Once you have a few general contractors you might be interested in, make a quick call to each of them and asked them a few questions.  Here are some questions you could ask:

– Do they take on projects of your size?
– How long have they worked with their subcontractors?
– Could they provide financial references?
– Could they give you a list of some previous clients?
– How many projects do they have going on at once?

The answers to these questions will help you learn the contractor’s reliability, availability and set you up to do some more thorough reference checks.

Get References from Previous Clients

A trustworthy general contractor will have no problem giving you contact information for a few of their previous clients. They should be proud of their work and confident in their previous clients’ customer satisfaction. Give one or two of those clients a call, ask how their project went, if they would go with that general contractor again and if possible, if you could see the finished product.

Check for Licensing & Insurance

You’d be surprised on how many “renovators” operate without a proper business license. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a physical license. It is actually your legal right as a homeowner. Beyond being legally allowed to conduct business, which is very important, a licensed contractor will be familiar with building code requirements and other legalities that could result in unforeseen costs later on.

A reputable general contractor will also carry valid insurance. If they don’t, walk away. Ask if they have full liability and worker’s compensation insurance. This will protect you as the homeowner if any damages or injuries occur on the job-site. If they don’t have insurance and someone gets hurt, they can file a lawsuit against you.

Get Estimates

Once you’ve done a few phone interviews, checked references and gathered information on licensing and insurance, it’s time to have two or three general contractors come to your home to give you an estimate on the project. This also gives you the chance to meet them face-to-face and ask any more questions you might have. When they give you an estimate, ask them to break down every component of the renovation and provide a cost estimate for each.

Get Everything in Writing

If you think you’ve found the right general contractor to work on your home renovation, make sure you get all of the details of the project in writing. A reputable contractor will provide a written quote stating all of the details of the project including materials, labour costs and any other additional fees they might incur throughout the project.

Make sure they draw up a written contract that details every step of the project including: the cost breakdown, a payment schedule, start date and estimated completion date as well as the materials and products being used and the trade services they will be subcontracting. If they are using subcontractors, ask to see proof of licensing, insurance and references for all the contractors they will be hiring for your project.

Remember that a good renovation company will not expect 100 percent of the project’s cost up front, but they will probably need a deposit once you sign the contract. If the contractor demands full payment upfront, find someone else.

Edmonton General Contractors

Find pre-screened general contractors for your home improvement project near Edmonton. General contractors provide full services for major home renovations. No matter how big or small the project is they’ll work with you from concept to completion, including the organization of other trades or services throughout the job. The general contractors listed below have gone through our stringent accreditation process, passed background checks and have proved their reputations, quality of workmanship and customer service.

 

 

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