Spring has sprung and it is now the season of rejuvenation and refreshment for many homeowners in Canada. With warmer weather finally arriving, many people are now considering making significant repairs and upgrades to their homes. Whether it’s a simple project or a complex addition to a home, enlisting the help of a professional contractor will help ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget. Hiring the right contractor for home renovations isn’t a simple task. So consider these pro tips tailored to Canadian homeowners that will help you source and hire the best possible contractor for your next spring renovation project.

Hiring fit and proper contractors for home renovations this spring

Ultimately, not all contractors are created equally, so homeowners will have to complete some due diligence to ensure that they choose a contractor that is a great fit for their renovation project. The best contractor for your home renovation job is someone who would be considered "fit and proper". They are the individuals completing the work so they need to carry the right qualifications, skills, and experience. Fortunately for you, AmeriSpec is proud to partner with eRenovate – a platform where homeowners can hire professional contractors with confidence. Contractors across Canada are held to different standards depending on the province. Usually, certificates from accredited colleges within the province act as a regulator of the industry, setting standards that monitor tradespeople and set best practices for the type of labour they conduct. Hiring the right contractor means that your project will be completed on budget and on time, and ensure that the job is done right the first time, without any surprise costs along the way. In some instances, a homeowner might decide they want to tackle a renovation project on their own, without any relevant training or experience. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) contracting might seem like a more affordable option at first, but the shortcomings and potential consequences are significant. Attempting complicated contracting work on your own could end up costing you much more time and money than you ever expected should the project be completed incorrectly or require repairs at a later date. The time spent learning a skilled trade on the fly will be extensive, and you will have to tackle each new challenge without support from other tradespeople. Further, amateur contractors run the risk of injury and further damage to a home should the project be completed without the expertise of a qualified and experienced contractor.

10 important tips for hiring the best contractor for home renovations

Before you hire a contractor for your next home renovation project, consider these tips to help you make the best decision possible.

1. Ask for evidence of proper licences and insurance

They should reflect a contractor's experience and expertise. Complicated renovations will require the project to be insured, and the right contractor will acknowledge this before the project begins. Inquire about a contractor's licences and make sure he or she is in good standing with any regulatory bodies within the skilled trades industry.

2. Find the right person for the job

It might seem like a simple concept, but hire a contractor that is experienced in your specific home renovation project. The contractor who is skilled in making additions to a home might not be qualified in completing complex electrical work. Ask these important questions and hire someone who can actually take on the work without complication.

3. Ask for a snapshot or portfolio of previous work completed

Skilled contractors should have photo or video examples of work completed in the past. A quick glance at a portfolio of a contractor’s work can offer a homeowner a preview into the quality of work that is to be expected. This provides peace of mind in turn.

4. Ask detailed questions about who will be completing the work

Will it be themselves completing the work, or will some work be subcontracted out? Subcontracting isn’t a bad thing either, as one contractor might be more experienced in a particular area and be able to lend their labour.

5. Complete both a legal and credential check before signing off on a project

Consider whether your contractor is qualified and trained to complete the project, and explore whether the professional has had any legal trouble in the past. Request references of past clients and look into public forums and online reviews to ensure the quality of the project.

6. Draft a detailed contract

This should outline the scope of the project, deadlines, how payments will be processed, and what will happen if the project changes unexpectedly. Strive to have an incredibly clear picture of the costs of the project along with your expectations. This extra planning could save you both money and headaches should the contractor attempt to make any changes during construction.

7. Consider more than just price

A cheaper alternative might not produce high quality results. In some more unfortunate circumstances, cheaper work might need to be repaired or redone at a later date. Good labour is hard to find, and as a result, might come with a higher cost.

8. Communication is key

Complicated projects should require daily conversations between homeowner and contractor. Ensure that the project is being completed on schedule by having regular check-ins either in-person or by phone.

9. Express your budget from the very beginning

Surprise costs can happen, and an agreed upon contract should shed some light on potential extra costs if trouble occurs along the way. Set your budget and come to an agreed upon cost well before work begins.

10. Review the work before agreeing that the job is done

Consider whether the project is completed to your standards and reflects what you agreed on before work was completed. It could also be of great benefit to hire an independent third party to review the work prior to signing off on its completion.

Avoid hiring a bad contractor for home renovations with eRenovate

AmeriSpec is proud to partner with eRenovate, a platform expertly designed to help homeowners avoid hiring bad contractors. Ensure that the work performed on your next home renovation project is completed to the highest possible standards. Sign up for eRenovate and take your home renovation to the next level. Visit the eRenovate website to learn more.