One of the most common questions I get is “can you recommend a contractor in my area?” More often than not, the answer is no. I have a trusted group of people I work with where my businesses are located, but when it comes to areas where I don’t regularly work, I can’t recommend anyone specific. But what I CAN do is give you some advice on how to hire a contractor so that you can go out and find the right person or company for your project.
Over the years I’ve written and spoken about this topic a lot, but the industry has changed since I first started, and now there are more options than ever before.
A great way to find a contractor or other tradesperson is through referrals. Ask friends, neighbours and colleagues who they’ve worked with or if there’s anyone they can recommend. It’s a particularly good idea to get referrals from people in your neighbourhood. You can easily go in and look at the work that was done and you can feel confident that the builder has worked with local inspectors.
Use a Trusted Platform
One of the things that’s changed significantly since I started working in this industry is the use of technology to match homeowners and contractors. While referral sites with reviews have been around for a little while, now there is a new option. I’ve recently teamed up with bidmii, which is an online home improvement marketplace. Whereas in the past I would suggest that you reach out to several companies for quotes, bidmii works in such a way that the contractors reach out to you with quotes, or in this case, bids. You post your project(s) on the platform and then interested tradespeople reach out to you with their bids (sometimes in just a few minutes!). Only those interested in the work will reach out, so you don’t have to spend unnecessary time chasing people who aren’t interested.
Once you’ve received multiple bids you should compare them and determine if you have follow up questions. The bid should contain the project proposal, labour and materials costs, and target completion dates. That said, it’s important to remember that the estimates you get are just that – estimates. When choosing a contractor a lot of people focus on these dollar amounts, but remember that a lot can change from the original estimate to the final detailed scope of work. Many people go by the theory that you should eliminate the highest and lowest bids and go with the one in the middle, but I don’t necessarily recommend that since so much can change over the course of a renovation. Remember that they’re only ballpark numbers at this stage. I suggest that you communicate with the contractor and discuss the project in more detail before agreeing based on a quote. It’s easy with bidmii’s real-time messaging system.
Consider Their Personality
Money is important, but a good estimate doesn’t necessarily mean a good experience. As I mentioned, when considering the bids, take some time to message the contractor. Are they good communicators? Do they seem knowledgeable? Friendly? You’re not interviewing for a friend, but you are interviewing someone who you’re going to have to allow in your home. It’s very important that you be comfortable with this person and their team.
References & Reviews
Always ask for references from other homeowners the contractor has worked with. If you got the referral from a friend or neighbour you’re already a step ahead of the game, but it’s still a good idea to look at other projects they’ve done. Or alternatively, check their online reviews. Bidmii’s platform, with their two-way ratings and reviews system, helps build and establish trust. All of the contractor reviews and ratings are completed by other homeowners using bidmii, so you can feel confident in your choices and know that your project will turn out exactly the way you want.
Additionally, one of the best parts about bidmii is that the money is held in trust during the course of the project, eliminating concerns that both homeowners and contractors can have regarding payments. On bidmii, contractors don’t get paid until the job is 100% finished and to your satisfaction, making for a much more pleasant experience for both the homeowners and tradespeople involved.
Bidmii is a marketplace platform company based in Toronto, and available across Ontario. The bidmii platform is designed to streamline the process of bidding and paying for home improvement jobs, making life easier for both homeowners and contractors. At bidmii, our mission is to help people live better by getting things done. Bidmii delivers an unparalleled home improvement experience, to both homeowners and contractors alike. To learn more about how bidmii is disrupting the home improvement industry, one project at a time, visit www.bidmii.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.