Picking a contractor for the job
We've all seen and heard about horror stories through friends and on T.V. Being in the industry for 4 years now. I've met tradesmen that I would not recommend, for different reasons. There's only a handful that have high standards. People who would want the end result to be the same as if it were their own home.
How do you know who those contractors are? Its kind of hard. There are great sites like Homestars which is a review site that can help narrow down your search. There are sites like Mike Holmes which have Holmes approved companies. Just because a company or person has some good reviews and/or references doesn't necessarily mean they are the right person for the job.
I was having a conversation with an acquaintance. He was saying when he was looking for someone for his renovation he did all his research before hiring a contractor whom he eventually fired. Not because of tardiness, lack of skill or unfit workers. What it truly boiled down to was lack of communication. Plans were being modified but not communicated, getting a hold of the contractor was a challenge. He needed more to feel satisfied with what was happening. I did not ask if there were signs of the lack of communication when he was getting his quote. Its likely he wouldn't have known until the renovation had started.
You might be asking "how do I avoid something like that?" If everything had been running smoothly until 2 weeks in. Then you would be just as surprised as the next person. I do have some suggestions on what to look for when interviewing for a contractor.
Chat up the contractor. Ask them questions. Are they asking you questions. Does it sound like they know their stuff? ( Research a few things in advance so you know what the answers should be. )
Look at their body language and listen to their word choices. Paying attention to these details allows you to read between the lines. I've been a manager for two companies in the last 14 years. I have hired so many people I have lost count. I have a reputation of hiring great people who either stay long term or have moved up in the companies. One of my secrets was to pay attention mostly to their actions not their answers. Did they have great eye contact. Could I hear passion for life/the industry in their voice. Those types of things determined if I was going to hire them. Of course intuition plays a part in this as well.
Know what is important to you. Is it communication, timeline, attention to detail... maybe cleanliness? Be sure to communicate that to the contractors you are interviewing. The more information you share the more information you shall receive.
I would suggest you interview at least a few contractors before making a decision. If you are reading this I'm assuming you want an end result that you love!. Getting that takes a bit of work on your part. All renovations can be fun and run fairly smoothly..... enjoy the journey!