Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How To Deal With Contractors & Home Renovations

Thinking of doing any home or property renovations this summer? You might be able to take advantage of the federal government’s renovation rebate, which is a part of their Canada-wide stimulus package. You must have receipts for any work and/or materials. Up to $1350 can be deducted from your 2009 income tax filing, which would mean you would have to spend close to $10,000 in renovations to receive the maximum benefit.

But how do you decide on one contractor over another? Obviously, your choice will be influenced by cost. Which contractor can provide you with the best quote. What goes into the ‘best’ quote includes much more than price alone. Like the saying goes no job’s done until the paperwork is completed. You can bank on the fact that if you’re not satisfied with the paperwork, then the finished job is likely to be disappointing too!

Here are some simple steps you can follow to help you choose a reliable and reputable
Contractor. My list includes crucial steps which should assist anyone wanting a quality finished product.

First step A). Check with friends for names of contractors they’ve used. Ask them how satisfied they were with the work? Was the job completed as scheduled or were unexpected delays? Did changes have to been made to the original job?

If you don’t find anyone through friends, then the next place to check would be a professional association in your area; they should give you a list of contractors who are members. Find out what criteria is used for membership i.e. knowledge and skills, including training in that field. Ask if the association has a quality control component. You’ll need to find a contractor that has good credentials.

Once you find a contractor, ask them how much experience and training they’ve received in a specific area. Always ask the contractor to provide you with at least three referrals with phone no.’s. Make the calls and find out how satisfied other customers have been.

Step Two B). Who will be doing the actual work? Is your contractor using subcontractors? For bigger jobs, if he’s not doing the work himself, then you will have to holdback 10% of the final payment, to prevent any liens being put on your house, in the event that a subcontractor is not fully paid.

Step Three C)
Find out if the contractor is fully licensed, insured or bonded? Do they have membership in the Better Business Bureau? Do they have any complaints lodged against them?

Step Four D).
Ask whether a written contract will be provided, along with a draft plan, including drawing and lists of grades, materials, colours that your contractor is planning to use?
How will the terms of payment be handled? Do they require a 50 % deposit and when are the interim payments due?

How much lead-time might they need? In what time frame can they realistically get the work done? What if the workmanship turns out to be poor and the materials come with defects? Does your contractor say in writing that he will be dealing with this if it happens? Does your contractor have any concerns with your putting a percentage of the final payment on holdback until a final inspection is done? This ensures that all the work has been properly completed. Also you’ll need to know if the contractor charges G.S.T. and/or P.S.T.?

Step Five D):
Permits. Ask if your contractor will be responsible for providing all the required municipal permits?

Step Six E):
Will your contractor provide you with a written warranty for the materials and workmanship?

Remember there is a big downfall to choosing a contractor strictly based upon prices. You want to be left with a quality job, as well as one that’s done at a reasonable price. Having three quotes would be best, so you can compare apples to apples. These are the things to look-out for when picking a contractor. Make sure you understand the agreement fully, & have all your questions answered before you sign the contract.

If you have any further questions, you can email me at howard.buchin@sympatico.ca.

1 comment:

Bella said...

great news if you live in Canada!