Finding the right person to do work on your home, where you have so much of your life and heart invested, can seem like a daunting task particularly in a market flooded with companies ranging from the solo handyman to the corporate contractor. We’ve all heard the stories about work half-completed, work that is poor quality, work that takes forever, poor post-service follow-up etc. Some website will claim to do the job for you of filtering out the good and bad companies in an attempt to ensure an online-brokered contract doesn’t go sour.

Experience says otherwise. Taking personal interest (and time) in the selection of a contractor and their credentials will be the main factor in a successful outcome for both the customer and service provider.

Some things you should keep in mind when searching for the right company:



You might think they are the experts and that your questions foolish; THEY’RE NOT. Don’t forget, the vetting process is for YOU. A good contractor will gladly discuss details of the operation, what to expect, what not to expect, how long the job will take, what tools are used, how much mess will be created, what they are responsible for etc. You’ve worked hard for your money, it’s only fair to pass it on to someone who will do a good job for you and provide the transparency in communication that you need without belittling your lack of knowledge in the field, if that’s the case. The communication style alone might be the reason you decide to look elsewhere. Renovations are stressful, or have a great potential to be. The more comfortable you are with a renovator conversationally, the more likely you will be to speak up and get what you want.



In the realm of home-improvement, word-of-mouth has almost always been a big part of the decision process. We trust our friends and family to recommend companies who will do a good job and treat us fairly. But, maybe you don’t have that option because you are new to a city, or you simply don’t have family where you live. In either case, getting a few references of past clients is a great way to assess the company. Again, a good company will likely have a robust list of satisfied customers who will be glad to pass on a good word.



You can’t legally demand someone’s SIN number or credit report except in special circumstances. And even still, it will cost you to check. Guidelines for these protocols can be found at the government’s website.


However, you can kindly ask for a credit score that can easily be access by anyone at a website called Credit Karma. It’s not an extremely detailed report but it’s free and it is some sort of indication whether or not a service-provider is stable financially. Keep in mind this can work both ways. If you don’t want to pay a deposit, the service-provider might be the one asking for credit scores.



The BBB keeps a list of companies who are registered with them and provides ratings (A+ to F) based on the company’s consumer history and performance. Their goal is “marketplace trust”, presumably a noble cause. They also have ‘Accredited’ status for companies in their listings that have undergone a more thorough evaluation. Keep in mind only companies that are registered with the BBB are governed in any way by it, and it is not a government body. That being said, just because a company isn’t registered with the BBB doesn’t necessarily mean the company is trying to hide bad business practices.




If a contractor is offering you a price that is markedly lower than the rest of the field there is room for caution. There is competitiveness and then there is simply bottom feeding. Contractors are well aware of what their work is worth, particularly when they are proud of it. If someone’s price seems suspiciously low, and you really need that price for your budget do the best you can to make sure the job gets done the way you want it to and in the time you want it to. Maybe bargain for a lower deposit.

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