How to choose a renovation contractor

Written by Mike W. Leeds, Renovations by Sandstone Associates

Okay you have decided to go down the path of renovating your home.  This can be a complicated process & is why it is important to have a qualified supervisor managing the project and trades.  A good supervisor streamlines the job schedule which saves return trips/costs, hire’s the appropriate trade to complete the work, supervises the work performed, stays in communication with the customer among many other tasks.  Although this list can be greatly expanded let’s get you started on picking the right contractor.

Step 1. Get your eggs in one basket!

Yes step 1 is to think about what you want the final space to be.  Start an idea book, get pictures from magazines or the internet.  Before you ask a company to come over and spend their valuable time on giving you a quote.  Get together a wish list of the items you want completed.  Not only does this help you think about what is important it shows the contractor that you are serious, you have put some thought into what you are hoping to achieve.   This list can be composed of possible materials you are looking to incorporate for flooring, cabinets, tile & other finishing items.  This will make sure if you have multiple contractors in that everyone will receive the same scope of work and you can compare apples to apples when the quotes come in.  Renovations by Sandstone Associates offers a very detailed estimate.  It allows for peace of mind that everything is included.

Step 2.  Does your renovation company belong to associations in the business that they are operating in?

Many organizations have codes of conduct that their members are obliged to follow.  Providing written quotes, insurance, licensing, warranties, offer dispute resolution processes.  Many of these associations will also have either member ratings or the ability to check if there has been past complaints regarding the owner/operators and how they were resolved.  Renovations by Sandstone Associates are proud members of the Canadian Home Builders Association Calgary Region, Renomark, Renovation Find & the Better Business Bureau.  Why would you hire a contractor that is not a member of at least one of these organizations?

Step 3. What is their experience?

Who will be managing the job, are they educated in the building process, have they taken building courses such as Moisture Control Technician, Building on Alberta Soils, Building Solutions i.e. problem solving.  Your home is becoming more and more of a concealed box with many systems affecting each other.  Is the person coming to estimate just a sales associate looking to see how much money you want to spend trying to get you to answer “YES QUESTIONS” or are they engaged in what you have to say, want to achieve and spend more than 20 minutes to make sure your questions are answered.  Do they know what could possibly be in that wall you want to remove and the challenges of rerouting services etc?  The buck stops with me Mike W. Leeds.  I have a well-rounded experience in both new home construction, renovations, as well the Calgary real estate market.  I have taken the Master Builders & Master Renovator courses through the Professional Home Builders Institute of Alberta and I am engaged in the construction industry.

Step 4.  Background check!

A company should be able to provide a list of past customers you can call and ask them various questions regarding the scope of their project, were there any hiccups, were any hiccups handled smoothly, stay on budget, any warranty work required, communication etc. Check if they have an Alberta Prepaid Contractors License if asking for deposits, check insurance, WCB, do they have a valid business license with the type of work associated with it.  These simple items set you up for success.  Renovations by Sandstone Associates will provide you with these items with no hesitation.

Step 5.  Trust your gut

You will be spending a fair bit of time speaking/emailing/meeting with the supervisor.  Do they care about your project or is it just another project they have to supervise added to their work load.  Renovations by Sandstone Associates strongly believe you are only as good as your last job.  We are committed to getting the job done on budget, on time and to meet and exceed your expectations.  Many customers just like you have trusted Renovations by Sandstone Associates to complete their kitchen, bathroom, basement & full home renovations.

Please give us a call “We Are Stubborn About Quality”. 


Mike W. Leeds President of Renovations by Sandstone Associates.

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