5 Tips for Choosing The Best Toronto Contractor For Your Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most valued and enjoyed rooms in a home. It is an essential place where meals are prepared, and where you gather with loved ones to talk about your day or have a snack.
As far as upgrades go, a kitchen renovation or kitchen remodel can add value and functionality to your home, improving quality of life and bringing out the best in your home’s design.
However, for most of us, we lack the requisite skills, tools and resources to tackle this big of a project on our own. This makes finding the best Toronto kitchen contractor priority number one.
But what should you be wary of when hiring a kitchen contractor in Toronto? This guide will provide you with actionable tips you can use to find the right contractor for your Toronto kitchen.
Grab a coffee, tea or favorite beverage and let’s dive right on in…
Finding the Best Toronto Contractor for a Kitchen Remodel or Renovation
Hiring the right contractor can be a challenge. Think of it this way: you are now the employer and need to interview applicants to narrow down candidates and find the right fit for your needs, goals, timeline, budget and more.
Step 1: Build a List of Starting Candidates
Begin by putting a short-list of potential candidates to vet.
Tips On Building This List:
- Ask friends and family for recommendations
- Conduct an online search
- Sort results by ratings and reviews
- Ask local groups on social media
Potential Red Flags: Be cautious of contractors with lack of clear information such as how to contact them, experience, ‘about’ info, reviews/ratings and a portfolio or pictures of past work.
Step 2: Evaluate Their Portfolios
Nothing speaks louder than the end result. A picture is truly worth 1,000 words (and a video perhaps 10,000). Look for portfolios highlighting the type of renovation or remodeling style you’re interested in. Keep a watchful eye out for creativity, detail and design work.
Potential Red Flags: Images that look like “stock” images from the internet (may need validation). The portfolio is outdated with no recent work. Portfolio lacks “before” AND “after” pics and only shows the “after” results.
Step 3: Licensing, Insurance and Experience
At this stage, you should have narrowed your list down a little. Now is time to validate and inquire about licensing for your jurisdiction, certifications, insurance and experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask for an electronic copy of their license and/or insurance policies to validate that they are up to date. HGTV also advises to look for any relevant associations or credentials from related organizations such as the “National Kitchen and Bath Association”.
Potential Red Flags: Expired insurance, outdated certifications, lack of proper licensure for your jurisdiction, and lack of knowledge about what types of licenses are required. Little experience or few projects related to a kitchen remodel or kitchen renovation.
Step 4: References and Background Check
Paying for a ‘background check’ might be a bit overkill, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own reconnaissance and homework on the contractor. After all, kitchen renovations or updates are not cheap, and you’re going to have this crew in the most personal of spaces: your home.
Any reputable kitchen contractor will expect you to ask for references. A typical reference list will include:
- Job name/type
- Customer name
- Customer contact information (phone, email, address)
- Dates (sometimes)
What to Ask References:
- Was the contractor prompt and on time?
- Was the project completed on schedule?
- Did the contractor stay within the budget?
- Were there any surprise costs?
- Was the job site maintained and kept neat, organized and free from debris?
- Were any issues that arose dealt with promptly?
- Are you happy with the work?
- How has the work held up over time?
- Was there anything you felt they could have done better?
- Was there anything you felt that they excelled and went above and beyond with?
Potential Red Flags: Large gaps between references or few or no references. People tend to err on the side of positivity when speaking about others. Even when small problems exist, most customers will be overall positive about the contractor and may not want to say anything unkind that would cost them work. Try to read between the lines.
BONUS: Pro Tips to Not Get Ripped Off
Always Get it In Writing: a contract is a MUST, holding your renovation contractor accountable and responsible for holding up their end of the arrangement.
Pay Upon Completion: Although costs for materials and/or a small deposit upfront is often customary, the bulk of payment should be made upon completion or spread out through work and charged as the services are rendered, to ensure work is completed satisfactorily.
The Bottom Line When Choosing the Best Toronto Contractor
At the end of the day, hiring a kitchen contractor is akin to hiring an employee. You want to do your research, ask for references, and interview them for the position. By following the tips in this guide you can drastically reduce the chances that you’ll make a bad hire, and ensure you’ll get the most out of your investment.
Need help finding the right team for the job? Have questions about designs or options? Reach out to us today. Our team is standing by and eager to help you get just what you need to make your kitchen something special.