Hire A Trades Person

Time to Renovate, Who Do I Hire?

If you are planning a renovation, remodel or just need a few things done around the house, you may be thinking about hiring some help. But how do you know who to hire? This guide should help you organize the project and pick the best team to work with on your renovation journey.

Create a Plan

The first step in any project is to make a plan. Your plan should outline the entire scope of the project and a budget. Include the rooms or areas that will be affected, if you will be shutting off electrical, heat, or plumbing for how long, what is the timeline for the project, and a detailed list of materials. There are detailed templates available online.

Select the Type of Help

Who you hire will depend on the project. Repair a cabinet hinge, maybe some light yardwork? You can probably get away with a repairperson. If your project involves plumbing or electrical, consult with a ticketed tradesperson who knows the inner nuances of the job and can tell you if you will need a permit to complete the project. 

If your project involves more than one trade you should consider a contractor. A general residential contractor handles the whole project from start to finish. They will assess the project, acquire the permits needed, hire and pay the subcontractors as well as source the materials required. 

The contractor can also advise you if it turns out your project needs an engineer or architect. They will assess for structural issues, draft and sign off on any plans that are needed for the City to approve permits as required. There are other items they should be able to advise you on as well. For example, if you decide you want to extend your deck but discover you can’t dig without blasting, you may need seismic tests on surrounding homes before construction or you will be liable for any damage to their homes caused by the blasting.

Things To Consider

Read online reviews and ask neighbours and friends. Make sure they have first-hand knowledge and aren’t recommending their business partner's niece or their kid’s friend from college. 

Check for a website or social media page and scroll through for examples of prior work and general content, and comments they have made. Don’t be afraid to let common interests and values influence your decision.

Communication is key and difficulty communicating is a red flag. Everyone is busy and everyone’s time should be respected. This should not be an excuse to fail to communicate. 

Get multiple quotes but be wary of really low bids, this is usually a sign of future problems stemming from inexperience — they do not know how long a job will take nor the cost of the materials, or dishonesty — low bids usually have follow-up issues. In the end, your bid will cost you more, especially if you have to have it redone properly by a more experienced person. 

Ask for their credentials and insurance. The credentials will vary for each trade but some basics are WHIMIS, First Aid Journeyman Red Seal Electrical TQ, IP/TQ British Columbia Trades Qualification, and Skilled Trades Certifications. They should also carry Business Liability Insurance as a minimum and even better if they have extended insurance like CEF (Contractors Equipment Insurance)

Get It In Writing

Once you have made your decision it’s time to draft your contract. Some things may seem obvious but the more specific you are the less room for misinterpretation. Include the names of all parties, the address, completion timeline and payment plan, who pays for what (staff, materials, permits) and be specific about your materials — if you want scuff-resistant eggshell include those details with the name and number of your colour choice.

Etiquette and Best Practices

A tradesperson is a small business, like a lawyer or accountant, they are not your employees. Clear, respectful communication will keep the project moving along, on time, and within budget. Write out signs for private areas like bathrooms and bedrooms if you want them to follow specific rules or stay out. Give them space to work; keep pets and children away and common areas clear. Stick with your payment plan; don’t offer to pay subcontractors directly.

We hope these tips will help you find the right team for your next project. If you want to know if the renovation will increase the value of your home, call me today for a free estimate.


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