Guest blog post submitted by member RenovationFind
Photo Credit: Bultena Concrete
Replacing damaged or installing brand new concrete at your home or business has many benefits. Not only will it boost curb appeal and give a better first impression, it can also improve resale value and has the durability and strength to last for years to come. It’s low maintenance, sustainable and cost-effective and versatile in design and style.
If you’re installing new concrete, finding a concrete contractor that you can trust is critical. Ensure quality products, professional installation and a positive customer experience by following these tips on how to choose the right concrete contractor:
Ask people you know.
Asking those you know and trust if they have had a good experience working with a contractor is the best place to start. Ask your family, friends and co-workers if they can recommend a contractor and start making a list of companies to research. Once you have a list, do a little online research to see if they have any third party accreditation like a listing on RenovationFind or if they are a member Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Call the top contractors on your list.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to three or four concrete contractors, it’s time to start making phone calls. Before you call, write down a list of questions you want to ask them. Here are some things you should ask:
- How long have you been in business? Choose a concrete contractor that has been in the industry for at least 5 years. Not only does this show they have decent experience, it also demonstrates that they are stable, reliable and have a proven track record.
- Do you have a business license? This is not a silly question. You would be surprized at how many ‘contractors’ operate without a business license. It is your right as a home or business owner to ask to see their physical license.
- Do you have insurance? Any reputable contractor will have proper insurance or will be willing to obtain it for your project. Do not hire a contractor that does not have insurance or tells you that it isn’t necessary. If you do and an accident happens on your worksite, you could be held legally responsible for any injury or damages. Avoid a lawsuit against you by making sure the contractor you hire is insured. You should also ask if they have Workers Board Compensation (WCB) insurance.
You should get an estimate from every concrete contractor in Edmonton you contact and are considering. The quote should include everything required to do the project from demolition, materials, installation and any other labour. Be careful not to choose a contractor based on the lowest price. Sometimes a low-bid can indicate lack of experience, workmanship and poor quality products. Reputable contractors will have fair, but competitive pricing.
Check their references.
While you’re on the phone, ask if they can provide you with contact information for two or three previous customers. When you contact these references, ask about the contractor’s work ethic, if they fulfilled their promises, if they are happy with the job and if they’d hire them again.
You can also ask the contractors if you can see one of their finished jobs. They should be proud to show you their work and since most concrete jobs will be outside of a house or business, doing a quick drive by should be no problem.
Get it all in writing.
A concrete contractor will provide you with a written contract that has all of the details of the project including the timeline, pricing, permits required, materials used and the process for change orders. If they have to hire a sub-trade for your project, the cost of that should be included as well. Do not sign a contract unless it is complete with all of these details. If there is something on the contract that you don’t understand, ask the contractor to clarify it for you before signing.
We’ve all heard stories of someone getting ripped off by a contractor during renovations or construction projects. Following these tips can help you avoid that negative experience. Third-party accreditation companies like RenovationFind protect consumers by offering a free online directory of vetted and pre-screen contractors, trades and renovation companies. All of the businesses listed on RenovationFind have been checked for sound legal and financial history, business licensing, insurance, WCB coverage and customer complaints are reviewed. Companies with BBB membership receive a higher rating and companies on the directory are continually monitored. Find a contractor you can trust on RenovationFind.com.