Hiring General Contractors In Victoria

Hiring general contractors in Victoria with confidence really comes down to one thing: Get It In Writing!

Three quotes

We can't emphasize enough just how important it is to demand a written estimate or quote because that's the only way homeowners like yourself will know for certain what was agreed upon and for how much. You'll want to obtain three quotes so you can compare pricing and details.

People's memories aren't reliable enough to stand the test of time when several weeks after you've reached agreement to start a project with a contractor there arises confusion and misunderstanding. And it only gets worse from there.

From building a new home to undertaking a simple bathroom reno, hiring a competent, reliable contractor can be one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. Stressful too. Since there's no shortage of general contractors in Victoria, it really comes down to finding and hiring the best. But how do you do that?

The process

  1. Ask family and friends for referrals. Who better to trust than someone you already know and perhaps has experience with what you're planning. Even a trusted neighbour can steer you in the right direction and help avoid mistakes.
  2. Inquire at the Better Business Bureau for local general contractors in Victoria because they've been reviewing businesses for many years and have had a good track record. That doesn't mean every member will be top quality since the requirements for membership are quite relaxed but it's a good starting point.
  3. Search the Internet. Enter the search term, “best victoria general contractor” or similar combinations and make a list of the first page results. You'll want to heavily discount the paid Adwords results for obvious reasons. If a general contractor's website provides valuable, relevant information then it will most likely show up in an “organic search” on the first page because it's been deemed useful to people searching that topic.
  4. The Victoria Residential Builders Association (vrba.ca). An excellent organization, anyone seeking bids for any size project in the Greater Victoria area can submit a request for quotes online at no cost to themselves with the Expression of Interest form. It's a great way for homeowners to narrow down their search for competent contractors.  

Taking action

Now that you've got a short list of names to contact, here are some great questions to ask over the phone or in person (and be sure to take written notes).

Are you licensed, registered and insured?

To legally conduct business in the Victoria municipalities, contractors need to have a business license which only costs $100 annually. All businesses that generate more than $30,000 annually also need to be registered with the CRA and to obtain a GST number to collect tax. And of course WCB insurance is essential to protect the homeowner against  injury claims.

Do you have client referrals and examples of previous jobs?

Be sure to contact those referrals and ask to view the work performed by the contractor if at all possible. Even photos of completed projects is a good way to get an idea of their quality of workmanship.

How much will it cost?

You'll want to see an amount written down that takes into account both materials and labour, preferably with details of material quality like cabinets, flooring and fixtures. You may decide upon a fixed amount so there are fewer surprises or a cost plus contract and the best option depends upon many factors, one of them being the size and scope of the project. Generally speaking, a straightforward, clearcut job is easier to to assign a fixed price to. And a word of caution here: be very leery if you're asked to pay in cash since there will be no paper trail and it could be a huge problem if disputes should occur later on!

There are so many things to consider in your search for the best general contractors in Victoria but remember one thing...GET IT IN WRITING!

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