Whether you are thinking of building a home from scratch or renovating your main bathroom, choosing a contractor to do the work for you is always a daunting process. Most people tend to lean towards recommendations from friends and family because they feel most comfortable working with someone that others have previously had a good experience with. Our advice is simple, easy to understand but definitely will not solve all of your issues so please remember to do as much due diligence as possible, no matter how big or small your project may be.
1. Always meet at least three professionals!
This sounds pretty straightforward and easy to understand, but most people have a good connection with the first person they meet and end up cancelling their other appointments and signing a contract. The process of meeting more than one professional is extremely important and should not be overlooked. First of all every contractor is running a business, it always comes down to the sale. If you only meet one salesman, you won’t know what others have to offer! Think of it, what if your next meeting would have had a better idea? a more cost effective approach? Maybe the connection between you and one of your next meetings would have been better and you would have simply felt more comfortable with them! Tip #1… always meet more than one professional (minimum of 3 is our advice)
2. The devil is in the details!
When discussing your project, make sure to get all the details you possibly can about the process, the cost and the timeframe. The easiest way to find yourself in a bad spot in week 3 of the renovations is due to the fact that you did not have enough details when signing your initial contract. It is important to remember surprises along the way or delays are impossible to predict, even for the more seasoned contractors. What you are looking for is details on pricing, timeline, potential surprises, details on materials, cost and the way it changes etc. The more details you have from every contractor, the easier it is to compare their service offers and control the process without surprises.
3. Get everything in writing!
No matter how good your father in law knows Joe the tradesman, always get the details in writing. Whether it be by email a few days later or as casual as by text message, make sure to have it in writing for future reference. The most common service flaw people complain about is change in pricing. This problem is easily solved with a signed, dated and hard copy of your service contract. If you are hearing horror stories about material costs going up, have your contractor add a clause in your contract stating the price cannot go up, if he is not willing to sign it… well then maybe he’s not the right contractor for you.
4. Be prepared for your first meeting.
It’s easy to put the responsibility on the contractors/professionals that may be doing your renovations or new build, Sometimes though, the fact that “we” the clients are not prepared at all can be the biggest problem of them all. Before planning for your bathroom renovations or new build, make sure to do some digging into what type of style and look you want, see if that works with the space you have, Look into materials, make lists of what you want, go as far as making a vision board so that you can present your contractors with a clear vision of space and final product. It is also important to look into how much your project might cost you. Going into your first, second and third meeting with a ballpark figure is always better than being slapped with the harsh reality that your project might have to wait a couple of years due to budget restrictions.
5. Be Realistic.
Points 4 and 5 technically go hand-in-hand.. Being prepared has a lot to do with knowing what you want and how you want it, being realistic has more to do with knowing the true cost of construction along with your budget restrictions. If you go into every meeting with a contractor looking to shave 25% off of their bill because that is all you can afford, you will eventually find it… The problem with that is simple, the one who can do it for way cheaper, is usually going to lack in service, loyalty and fall short of their promises, Have you ever heard the saying “if it seems too good to be true, it usually is?” Well this saying is DEFINITELY applicable in renovations and new constructions. Everyone knows someone who has done renovations or built their home, take the time to discuss what to expect with friends and family before getting into the renovation process so as to not let yourself down or get into way more cost than you expected too. Always protect your own interests!
Seems like a lot of info huh? If you don’t know where to start, or want more info, do not hesitate to give us a call! We’d love to help!