We’ve all heard horror stories about someone getting ripped off by a contractor or renovation company during home renovations. After spending sometimes thousands of dollars, homeowners are left with work unfinished or work done so terribly that they have to pay another contractor to re-do it. It’s no wonder homeowners are nervous when it comes to hiring renovation-related companies.
A good place to start looking is checking to see if the company in question has an A+ rating on RenovationFind.com. Companies on our directory have passed a stringent screening process including legal and financial background checks, providing proof of business licence, insurance, WCB and that they are a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Here are some tips on how to hire the right contractor for home improvement projects:
We wary of Kijiji.
Kijiji, community buy-and-sell and other free listing sites are great if you want to buy a used canoe or sell a box of baby clothes. Since it is free to put up a basic listing, it is also used by some to promote their business or services. Though there are some legit companies that post their services on Kijiji, there are also self-proclaimed handymen and renovators that do not have proper licensing or insurance to do any work in your home. Even if they’re offering rock-bottom prices, it’s likely too good to be true. It doesn’t hurt to start your research on a site like Kijiji, but always make sure to do further research into the companies that advertise there.
Always ask for a business license.
You would be surprised how many people do renovations without a valid license. It is your legal right as a home owner to ask to see a physical license before someone does any work in your house. A reputable contractor will have a business licence. This also means they will be familiar and compliant with building codes, permits and other legalities that could cost you more money in the end.
Always check for insurance.
A reputable company that offers renovations or handyman services in Calgary will carry valid insurance. In some cases, they can obtain insurance on a job-to-job basis. If the company you are considering doesn’t have insurance, including worker’s compensation insurance, or tells you it is not necessary, walk away.
If an accident happens on the work site that causes damage or injury, and the person you’ve hired doesn’t have insurance, you will be personally liable for it. For example, if the contractor accidentally smashes your glass coffee table, you’ll have to pay for it. If someone get’s hurt on your job site, they could file a lawsuit against you personally. Insurance protects you.
Get every detail in writing.
If you think you’ve found the right company for the job, be sure to get every little detail in writing before they start any work. A reputable handyman or renovation company will give you a written quote that has all the details of the project and the cost. Your quote should include a breakdown of costs for materials, labour and any other fees that might be required throughout the job.
Any contract you sign should have the total cost, payment plan, project schedule with estimated completion date, materials used and any jobs that will be sub-contracted out. Do not pay 100% upfront! Though most home improvement companies will require a deposit, a reputable company will not expect the entire payment upfront. If you’re asked to pay for the entire job before any work begins, do not hire that person or company. Get more tips on how to avoid getting ripped off when renovating.
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