What do you look for when shopping around for a contractor or sub trade? Are you just looking for the lowest price? If so, we recommend that you rethink your strategy.
As a sub-trade, Vancouver Island Gutter sees many projects at various stages of completion, from repairs to renovations to new home starts, and the quality of the craftsmanship we’ve seen varies widely. Don’t get us wrong, there are many qualified, quality carpenters and trades people here on the Island and they do exceptional work for their customers. But there are also those who have jumped on the construction boom bandwagon solely for the purpose of capitalizing on the current trend, and many of them don’t really know their craft.
That’s why we here at VIG would like to encourage all home owners shop around and utilize the tools available to them when looking for a contractor or trades person. Below we have listed a few pointers that might help you determine whether or not you can trust a company or trade individual.
First of all, we know your eye is always on the bottom line, and well it should be, but don’t let that be the only factor in your decision making process. Keep in mind that whatever you are looking to have done to your home will need to last a long time, possibly the rest of your life and beyond. And while there are always some areas where corners can possibly be cut, you don’t want to compromise when it comes to using products that are quality and up to code, or people who really know their craft.
When looking for a contractor or trades person, we recommend that you:
- Check if the company or individual has a website or at least a Facebook or Twitter page. If not, you might want to ask yourself why. If they are a small one-person company, can they offer you any references?
- Are they listed in the Yellow Pages?
- Do they have any reviews on any of these platforms? What are other customers saying about their work?
- Always get more than one estimate. If a company’s estimate seems “too good to be true”, it probably is. And even though you may be tempted to save a whack of cash now, you will definitely pay for it later on. You get what you pay for with every trade, so if you are looking to save some money, go with the company whose estimate came in at the midway point. That way you can be pretty sure that they know their industry and are trying to stay competitive while still offering quality products and sound craftsmanship.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau. Does the company you are looking to hire have any complaints against them? Even if they are not registered with the BBB, they can still have complaints filed against them. On the other hand, not all good companies have taken the time to go through the process of becoming a BBB accredited member.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. How long has the company been in business? Are they a Jack-of-all-trades or do they specialize in one or two areas? Can they source the product/s you want or do they give you a story about only having one or two colours or styles available to them? And do they respond to your email or phone inquiries in a timely manner?
- Do they offer any kind of guarantee or warrantee for their work? Don’t be afraid to ask their policy when it comes to issues that could arise down the road. Will they come back and at least assess a faulty installation and work with you to determine the next steps? Will they take responsibility for any faulty craftsmanship?
We hope these pointers prove to be helpful in your search for quality contractors and trades people to work on your home. To help you navigate through the process, we have now set up a Referrals Page where we have listed the contractors and sub trades that we have come to know as trustworthy. Just don’t expect them to be the lowest price.