Engaging the services of a trades person

Thought this might be a good forum to help home owners looking to navigate engaging the services of a trades person to do work in your home.

Tips on hiring a trades person.

  • Although it is a good idea to obtain a few estimates for the work, it is never a good idea to schedule the same trades at the same time to visit your home..it causes irritation. Same with making mention that you are obtaining other prices – we already know you will obtain other prices but mentioning this will likely not result in us providing lower numbers just because you are shopping around- in some cases it might have the opposite effect
  • Please do not offer to help with the work. We do not have liability insurance to cover ourselves should you be hurt while working on tools for your project (you wouldn’t ask your dentist to allow you to do the drilling!) By all means most companies are open to you doing a portion of the work yourself if you feel you can, either before or after we are there
  • Most of the licensed trades have spent years obtaining training on job and in class, so while we appreciate the DIYers it’s never a good idea to say “I know how to do this myself but just don’t have time which is why I’m hiring you”
  • There is a difference between a detailed estimate which provides a scope of work & the client just wanting advice so they can complete the job themselves. Please understand this is how we make our living & although some advice is ok, rather, book a consultation & pay a small fee if you are wanting to be shown how
  • Do inform yourself with information on the internet for your project as it’s an extremely useful tool, but please understand there are just some reasons we do what we do which comes through years of experience. Remember you are not paying us for actual time spent if we can do it quickly-you are paying for our experience to do the job correctly & in the least amount of time which benefits both of us
  • Be friendly and inviting and by all means offer water to trades working outside in hot conditions- it’s very much appreciated
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re interested in knowing the whys, but please don’t stand over us for the duration of your project, it’s harder to complete tasks when we feel we’re being micro managed
  • It’s always a good idea not to mention your financial situation. Although we may feel badly for you, we too must make a fair living & the cost of running a company in this province comes with many fees we must pay – our prices are our prices for a reason & most of us live a fairly modest life
  • Do be prepared to discuss your budget up front – It is a huge time saver for us when we have this number. We can quickly establish if your budget is in line with your wish list. Clients may feel reluctant to share this number as we will spend it for you. Of course we will – because that’s your budget! There is a huge difference between a $10,000 bathroom versus a $20,000 one. When you share your budget it quickly helps us to work backwards from there to properly allocate between your “must haves vs your would be nice”
  • If a firm provides you with a comprehensive scope & lump sum price, chances are this is how they price their jobs and do not want to break down pricing by line item. That’s what the job is worth & most will do time plus materials to figure out their numbers. I always use the analogy you don’t go to restaurant & order a breakfast then ask them to break down what the eggs cost them. It’s a respect thing
  • Many companies are moving away from providing sq/ft pricing – there are too many variables that go into figuring out the cost of the job. The bottom line is that most companies know what they need to make in a day- regardless of what jobs they are performing in the day & they must cover their costs to operate.
  • If you’d like to supply your own materials for the job because it is cheaper for you to do so, then by all means, many companies are open to this. But if you purchase the wrong materials or they are defective there is a cost for having your trades person deal with it.
  • A ballpark estimate is different than a full comprehensive scope. Most companies offer free estimates but please understand that it could be a lengthy process that we cannot recoup our costs associated with the time spent on your quote, be respectful of people’s time.
  • A reputable company will always provide you with a contract which should detail each task they plan to do. If you deviate from this scope or add things please understand there are costs associated with making changes. Also remember that the lowest price is likely not the best option because some firms will low ball to get the job then hit the client with extras along the way. Companies that have the expertise are usually able to factor in these unforeseens & include it in their initial estimate-thus making their price a little higher but in most cases providing a realistic number not littered with unaccounted for extras. There are always the unknowns but they should have the experience to disclose the potential risks prior to starting your job.

Most important is to hire a contractor who uses licensed trades. At Gordmay Construction we work closely with Honest D Plumbing for our projects. Superior quality and workmanship on every job.
Most importantly, don’t be reluctant to effectively communicate with your trades person – this, coupled with managing expectations is the key to a successful experience on your project!