How do I know if I am selecting the right contractor?

The short answer is, there isn’t a short answer to this question. Your project is unique, and so are all of the elements that you have to consider when selecting the best contractor for your project.

When Selecting and Hiring the Right Contractor for Your Project

In Ontario, there are currently 23 skilled trades that are “Compulsory.” A Compulsory Trade is a trade in which registration as an apprentice, journeyperson candidate, or certification as a journeyperson is mandatory. Plumbing and Electrical are [2] relevant examples of compulsory trades in the Construction sector. Plumbers and electricians need to be licensed to perform plumbing and electrical work on your project.

Under the Construction sector, there are currently 17 skilled trades that are “Voluntary.” Voluntary trade is a trade in which certification and College membership are not legally required to practice the trade. Carpentry is considered a voluntary trade, which means that the person building your home DOES NOT require a license. A license IS required to run the plumbing and electrical in your home, BUT the person that builds the rest of your home DOES NOT need to be licensed.

The unfortunate reality is that pretty much anyone can borrow a few tools, post an ad offering their “carpentry” services, and can be hired for a project. Approximately 10-15% of our remodel / repair work comes from customers who have hired the wrong contractor… usually, the job wasn’t completed properly or safely [in accordance with the Ontario Building Code], or the contractor took the payment and the customer can’t get them to come back and finish the job. In these situations, it ends up costing our customers way more to complete their project – not just financially… the time, energy, and emotional impact is real and can be devastating.

Carpentry is Our Business

We have assembled the strongest carpentry team in the industry. We have [5] fully licensed Red Seal Carpenters on our crew. Each of our licensed carpenters has completed the 7,200 hours of schooling and on-the-job hours required to write and pass the Carpentry Certification of Qualification exam. We have [3] carpentry apprentices who work with our licensed carpenters to learn the trade and are in the process of getting licensed.

Combined we have over 75 years of industry experience, knowledge, and craftsmanship that we are able to give to our customers.

Every one of our crews is led by a licensed carpenter. Add to that our carefully selected and fully licensed sub-trades, and you have an unbeatable and professional team working for you.

Questions to Ask When Considering a Contractor

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Have you closed down a business and opened up a new one under a different name?
  3. How much experience do you have in [insert project details here… e.g. ICF, steel roofs, energy-efficient builds, etc.]
  4. Can you provide me with references from your previous customers?
  5. How many licensed carpenters do you have on your team?
  6. Do you have current and active business insurance?
  7. Do you have WSIB coverage?
  8. Do you have a legally binding contract that protects both of us?
  9. What are your payment terms?
  10. What are your warranty terms?
  11. How many projects do you run at the same time?

Simply asking these questions of potential contractors will weed out the professionals from the non-professionals. The professionals will be eager and proud to demonstrate to you their knowledge, experience, and capability. You won’t likely hear back from the non-professionals.

    Lastly, the relationship between you and your contractor needs to “feel right.” You are investing your money, time, and energy to hire someone that will partner with you to create your vision. They should be as excited as you are to collaborate on your project and be open to your ideas and input. If it doesn’t feel right to you, keep looking until you find “the one.”

    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

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