How To Hire A General Contractor: Checklist And Tips

If you work with the right people, renovations can be fun! It is important to plan everything and hire a trustworthy contractor to help you navigate the process and keep it from going wrong.

These are only general guidelines and may not be applicable to you. To get the right information, make sure to contact your local government.

1. Plan and budget

First, make a list of all the work you wish to do and then write down a description for each item. According to the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association, you should make two lists: one that is a wish list and one that contains essential items. To get quotes you can compare the work specs, give both lists to potential contractors.

2. Get the permits and licenses you need

To find out if there are any building permits or by-laws that apply to your work, check with your local municipal building department. Each province has its own rules and regulations. It is important to know what they are in your area. If you are in Ontario, for example, check with your municipality to see if your contractor must be certified for the work being done.

3. Get a few estimates

It’s a good idea to look at several options when you are considering major projects. This will increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome. It is worth your time to search for the right contractor.

Ask your neighbors and friends who have done similar work. When it comes to selecting a contractor, there is nothing better than hearing from others. Local hardware stores, municipalities licensing offices, and building departments are all options. You can also search online directories which list construction services according to location.

The Alberta government offers tips to help you find a qualified contractor. 

Invite at least three contractors to your home and ask them to bid on the job according to the description that you have prepared. Don’t sign anything or pay anything the first time they visit. Ask for references from older jobs and recent ones. Good contractors won’t mind asking questions and will not mind answering any questions you may have about the job.

An estimate can be made on the spot for simple jobs such as painting. An estimate should include details about the job and the materials that will be used. Contractors should send back samples and documentation about possible materials and products. They may also include photos of work similar to the one they are doing.

4. Select a reliable and accredited contractor

Why liability insurance for contractors is important and how to verify it? First, make sure you verify the credentials of contractors who suit your needs. You could be responsible for any injuries that occur on your property if you hire workers without insurance or safety certification. For any questions regarding your homeowner insurance, call your insurer provider.

The governments of Alberta and Ontario require contractors to provide proof of their property damage and public liability insurance and their business license number. Keep track of this information and make sure to verify it with the Chamber of Commerce or local licensing office. Additional insurance may be required for certain trades. You can check with professional associations or government agencies.

5. Choose the best estimate

Although it may seem tempting to choose the lowest price, be cautious if one estimate is significantly higher or lower than the others. Contractors might not be familiar with the job, may use less expensive materials, or be more inclined to make a cut.

Once the estimate has been completed, it is used to create the contract. This legal document binds both of them once they have signed it. Knowing what the contract should contain is your best defense against fraud.

The Government of Ontario identifies a list of items that should be covered. These are the points you should ensure the contract covers:

  • Name, address, and contact information of the contractor
  • A detailed description of the work process and materials
  • All warranties clearly described
  • The terms and conditions of payment
  • A work schedule with clear start and finish dates
  • A payment schedule that includes the deposit amount
  • Clear understanding of who is responsible to clean up after the work is done
  • The contractor should have a list of all subcontractors that he will use, and a clear understanding of their responsibility for payment.

6. Only pay for the quality of work done

Contractors who are good at working with suppliers will have a flat bill and not ask for a down payment. However, large-scale renovations, or those that require special equipment, materials, or custom work, may call for one. It’s not recommended to spend more than 10% of the final cost.

A one-time payment for small jobs that last only a few hours is acceptable. However, larger jobs may require you to pay in installments.

The Construction Lien Act provides some protection from liens placed on your house by workers or suppliers who were not paid by contractors. The standard is to retain 10% of the contract price for 45 days after project completion. This gives you the opportunity to check the quality of work done.

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