Top 10 ways to annoy your contractor

What not to do when working with a contractor

By Allan Britnell


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Reliable and skilled contractors are worth their weight in gold, especially considering the billions of dollars Canadians drop annually on home renovations. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Canadians spend more than $17 billion a year on renovations, at an average cost of $11,000 per job. With all that work going on, often there aren’t enough qualified contractors to go around. Yet, for some reason, even top-notch tradespeople seem to have to put up with more than their fair share of abuse. The following are the most common things clients do to tick off contractors. Avoiding these mistakes will not only pave the way to a better job, but will keep a vengeful contractor from stuffing the remains of his lunch in your ventilation ducts.

To keep your contractor happy, don’t:

Call for quotes with no idea what you want

When soliciting estimates for home-renovation projects, it is wise to get at least three estimates. You’ll be able to get a sense of a fair price for the job and ask each contractor for his thoughts on what your options are. That said, while larger home-reno companies employ sales teams to assess jobs, providing quotes is a time-consuming, unpaid part of an independent contractor’s job. Don’t call for a quote and then expect the contractor to do all the work for you. You should at least do a bit of research into design and materials and have an idea of what your budget is before you call in asking for an estimate.

You also have to budget some time for quote preparation. You need to recognize that, like you, independent contractors have families and other commitments that eat up their non-working hours. They invariably end up working on their estimates over the course of several evenings or weekends. The more complex the job, the longer calculating its cost will take.

Finally, when making your decision on which company to go with, make sure the quotes that you’re comparing are truly apples to apples. The quality of finishing materials can often explain large price discrepancies.

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