What to spot when hiring a Builder or Home Improvement Contractor

Reno Warriors

Depending on the type of work you are wishing to have completed, you will need to do some research before hiring the right contractor for your job. Having a skilled and trustworthy person to complete your project is the most pivitol part of the process.

Firstly, lets discuss who does what. Builders are who you are going to hire if you are requiring structural works, and major extensions that will include draftsmans drawings, plans and permits. Builders will be registered with the relevant building authorities  in their state, as in Victoria they will be registered with the VBA, MBAV and HIA.  They will have the relevant licences and insurances to carry out major project such as extensions.

Home Contractors & renovators can carry out Kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, flooring, painting, electrical, plumbing and other general works. Again, these contractors should be registered by the appropriate bodies in their state, and hold the appropriate insurances to carry out necessary works.

If you are looking at hiring a contractor there are several red flags you need to be able to spot, and we will tell you how to weed out the bad ones.

  1. If you have a contractor that requests cash payments upfront, this is a warning that you are likely being scammed and that the contractor is not licenced. 
  2. If you are given a super low price that seems to good to be true – it probably is the case. In obtaining quotations from Contractors, sometimes the cheapest is not always the best, and the cheap quotes, are usually cheap for a reason. 
  3. No website or Google presence. Google is everything when it comes to advertising, and if your proposed contractor has no website, reviews or Google presence, this is an immediate concern. This indicates that the contractor could be involved in a scam, or has a history of changing company names and shoddy workmanship.
  4. No written contract. A legitimate contractor will always present you a formal quotation & legal document prior to commencement of works. All works should be clearly detailed and signed off by all parties, with costs and progressive payments made clear.
  5. Pushy Sales. If you are feeling pressured to sign up, this is a warning sign. Ethical contractors will always leave the quotation with you to let you think it over.
  6. Insurances. If you ask a contractor for a copy of their relevant licences and insurances and they do not supply them, they are obviously operating a scam or unlicenced business.

Its important for you to feel comfortable with your contractor, and feel you can ask questions and be involved in the process together with them. Your home is your biggest asset and you need to ensure you have contractors that are licenced, insured and trustworthy working on your home. A legitimate contractor will have a searchable Google history, good references and licences and accreditations. Don’t be shy to ask for copies of these, legitimate operators will have no issues in handing over these details.