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How To Choose the Right Contractor

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Finding the right contractor is essential to the success of your project. Follow these simple steps and you should be OK:

  1. Evaluate what you need to have done.
  2. Interview several contractors. Also consult friends and neighbours.
  3. Give the contractor access to the site. Give written specifications.
  4. Get fixed price quotes from the contractors and compare them, making sure that they each quote on the same items.
  5. Ask all the contractors quoting for current licenses, Home Owners Warranty Insurance (for contracts over $12,000), contract works insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and Public Liability insurance.
    Monitor the expiry dates of the insurance polices and ask you contractor to provide you with renewed policies once old ones have expired.
  6. Ask for references - particularly previous customers - from each party. Check the references. Be sure to speak with them when the contractor is not present.
  7. Be sure that the payment schedule for the contractor is clear and understandable.
  8. Make sure that the contract specifies the start and completion dates. Insist on some type of late fee or penalty if the completion is delayed past a certain period (notwithstanding circumstances beyond the contractor’s control, such as inclement weather).
  9. Execute the approved contract. You can obtain a plain English Contract from the department of fair-trading.
  10. Make any required deposit payment, and be sure to write your checks as per the schedule (not earlier and not later). ALWAYS only the pay for work that has BEEN done. Do not pay for materials that have been delivered to your site but yet installed.


a. Check with your local Department of Fair Trading for any complaints against the contractor.

b. Remember that you'll be working closely with the contractor – be sure to select someone with whom you can establish a comfortable relationship.

c. Don't assume that the most expensive contractor is the best, or the least expensive the worst.

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