It takes a village to build a home and bring it up from the ground up. And then it takes another to keep it functional. A home that has withstood the test of time tends to require more effort to keep it standing—for example, perhaps new flooring, bathroom fittings or even a new coat of paint. Hiring between many types of contractors, trusting them with your property and then faithfully hoping for them to do a good job can be a lot of pressure. Here are some easy checklists and tips for hiring and managing a home repair or maintenance contractor and many types of contractors so you rest assured you found the best in business for your homes. 

Types of Contractors

A general contractor (GC) maintains the construction and the building of homes. Special tradesmen who carry out repairs inside your homes are called subcontractors. You hire subcontractors when you need some repair work done around the house. The hierarchy goes that the general building contractors carry out the major renovation and building of the homes, and they do so by hiring multiple speciality tradesmen. These tradesmen are subcontractors. The GC does not usually indulge in manual labour; the subcontractors do. 

Subcontractor Types

Subcontractor in Canada

The speciality subcontractors carry out the manual tasks and are business individuals that the primary contractors hire as part of a large project or contract. A successful collaboration between these dynamics helps ensure the smooth completion of projects. It is recommended to enquire and discuss the essential services all contractors you hire are willing to offer. The following list generalises a project’s many types of contractors according to their distinct services. 

  • Excavation Contractors

Excavation contractors play a crucial role in site prepping and shaping the earth at the commencement of a project. This includes digging, foundation work, land development and shaping of the earth. These subcontractors handle digging the project sites, grading and levelling fields for even construction and trenching for sewage and water lines.  

  • Concrete Contractors

Much like their names, these types of contractors manage all concrete-related building tasks during construction. Pouring, finishing, repairing and reinforcing concrete structures are some key tasks. Their services include everything from travelling and stamping to reinforcing concrete foundations. 

  • Framing Contractors

They are tasked with the framing phase of the building project. The framing subcontractors work with wood or metal frameworks depending on the project’s demands and the framework requirements. 

  • Roofing Contractors

Focus on roof installation, repair and maintenance in project construction. The contractors are skilled in working with various roofing materials like asphalt shingles, metals, tiles or rubber roofing for commercial and private properties. They ensure waterproofing, skylight installations and energy-efficient roofing solutions. 

  • Plumbing Contractors

Plumbing Contractors in Canada

These specialised professionals provide plumbing, installation and repair services, including water supply, drainage and sewer systems for the construction. They ensure proper plumbing functionality, safe water distribution, and building waste removal. They also facilitate specialty jobs like in-floor heat installations. 

  • HVAC Contractors

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning professions, and these subcontractors handle all installation and maintenance related to heating, cooling and indoor air quality systems in construction. They ensure efficient, comfortable, healthy indoor environments and ventilation and optimise energy efficiency. Their tasks include ductwork and HVAC unit replacements. 

  • Electrical Contractors

Electrical Contractors in Canada

They cover the complete electrical supply installation for construction. Specialised professionals are responsible for the functionality of various types of electrical structures and safety management.

  • Finish Carpentry

Finish carpentry specialises in the final stages of a construction project and adds the finishing touches to ensure the complete functionality of the project. Adding millwork, trims, mouldings, doors and cabinetry etc., are some services that they provide, adding aesthetic appeal to the interior and exterior designs of the buildings. 

  • Drywall Hangers

These services include installing drywall sheets on the interior walls and ceilings as the walls need to be further prepped for paint jobs. 

  • Painting Contractors

Painting Contractors in Canada

Are hired to cover all painting needs, including a final drywall prep. Especially as remodelling contractors, they enhance the final appearances, apply finishing touches and play a crucial role as home renovation contractors as they transform spaces with colour and provide a finished look to surfaces. 

  • Flooring Contractors

Tasked with all flooring needs like installation of tiles as per client needs. Flooring contractors work with various flooring materials, each with unique characteristics and installation requirements like hardwoods, carpet preferences, etc. 

Is Hiring Handymen Better Than Licensed Contractors? 

Using a licensed building contractor is always better than hiring a “handyman” for repair and maintenance work around your homes. Hiring licensed professionals gets you legal protection in case of damages and assures you of quality workmanship.

Licensed contractors have specific expertise and training in their respective fields and trades. By hiring a professional, you are assured of quality work completed per industry standards by specialised professionals. Licensed contractors are also legally beneficial for their liability insurance in the case of accidents. They are also more adept with building code compliances and local regulations, reducing the risk of potential inspection worries in the future. However, you would not be so sure of these specifics with a handyman. Although easier on the pocket, handymen are a riskier trade for hire. 

What Does a General Contractor Do?

What Does a General Contractor Do

Hiring a general contractor is beneficial and makes the constriction much smoother and easier for homeowners. Once you hire a GC, employing all the subcontractors is taken off your shoulders. Now, you only need to coordinate with the GC. It becomes the GC’s duty to hire all other subcontractors, find the best ones, ‘hold’ their contracts and manage them all. They will now work for the general contractor, not you. You would only have an agreement with the GC and not the many subcontractors involved throughout the construction process. 

The GC manages the entire construction process, schedules the sub appointments, pays the wages as deserved and supervises the progress. The GC’s responsible for ensuring reasonable working conditions for the subcontractors, including but not limited to arranging portable toilets, insurance and their other miscellaneous needs.

Can You Be Your Own GC?

The complete construction process is a very taxing job. This, however, does not mean that people have not before made it work. If you are inclined to manage the project as a GC on your own, here are some factors you should consider before making a final decision. 

  • Your Comfort with the Task at Hand

You should ask yourself if you know the steps involved with the process and have the tools to undertake the job. If you wish to be a GC, you should feel confident with the repairs and be familiar with the steps involved in the process. 

  • The time it will take

Consider how much the project would last before you decide not to hire a GC. You can shift your routine to shift the job into the schedule and the inconvenience it might cause if the job lasts longer than expected. 

  • The budget on hand

You should consider the cost of hiring a contractor and compare it to the alternative costs of not hiring one and having to manage repairs in the future. Being the GC yourself, you must invest in the required tools, equipment and materials for the construction. 

  • The Scale of the Project

It can be considerably easier to handle small repair and renovation jobs. However, larger projects like construction or full-scale renovations may advent the need for home renovation contractors and working professionals. 

TIP: It is advised to consider being your own GC only when you are sure of your managerial skills and functionality concerning the scale of the project. Things usually go much smoother and peacefully for you when the management is left to the GC to handle.

Know The Right Contractors

There are many types of contractors that can be found in the market offering quotations that seem too high to those with quotes too good to be true. Here are some tips for hiring the right contractor that best suits your needs:

  • Evaluate their Past Projects

It is best to employ local building contractors you are familiar with and have already worked with. If this is your first venture, you can ask for referrals from friends, family or reliable realtors in the community. Once you narrow down a few names and options, research their past works and, if possible, read reviews and testimonials for a better perspective. Check their business longevity, references and experience in the industry. Once you meet with them, check for a ‘chemistry’ and personality rapport. Remember that you must collaborate for a while, so a certain team spirit must be maintained. 

  • Get Multiple Estimates

After narrowing down a potential list of contractors, try to get an estimate from them. Do some online research, narrow down some average rates, and then carefully examine the quotes they offer. The rates will not only be different on the online standards but will also be equally distinct in different estimates by the contractors. That’s just how many types of contractors the market is filled with. Make sure that the estimates cover all the costs that might be involved, including clean-up. 

  • Licence, Insurance, and Bonding Proofs

Bonding means a guaranteed estimate of the period of days that the project might be completed. To ensure the potential contractor is bonded to establish trust and not run the risk of the contractor walking out in the middle of a job. Always hire licensed contractors and ideally prefer those who have no filed complaints or disciplinary actions against them. Equally important is insurance, make sure to always pick the types of contractors that offers workman’s compensation. Ask your contractors for insurance certificates (COI). You can also call the insurance company to review their coverage directly. 

  • Payment Alternatives

After the project is completed, ask the contractor to share the invoice by email. It is better that they do not ask for cash. If materials are required before work, try to reduce these payments as much as possible. Do not pay more than 33% advance for the most trustworthy companies. 

Take Your Time

Your choice of contractor can make or break your project. As a result, you should never make a hasty decision. Look for contract pricing that is well-detailed, transparent, and simple to understand. Don’t be swayed by discounts or monetary incentives in exchange for signing the contract immediately.

Enquiries To Make Before You Hire 

Some questions to remember when approaching contractors:

    • What will be the total cost for the job
    • What will this price include?
    • What are price estimates?
    • How long will the project last?
    • Can I have the agreement in writing?
    • How much will the upfront payment be?

Managing a Contractor

Some effective tips for effectively managing the contractors are: 

    • Define your expectations and requirements
    • Discuss the contractor access to your homes when you might not be at the property
    • Discuss how changing orders will affect the project?
    • Assess how changing deadlines might affect the bonds. 

You’re Ready

Dealing and hiring home repair contractors can get tricky, but it’s not impossible with determination and a keen eye. We hope these insights and tips can help and guide you forward.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you approach a contractor?

You can either get recommendations for local contractors from trusted family, realtors or community recommendations. You can also try to research online on reputed contractors in your area.

What is the standard procedure for choosing a contractor?

The best way to choose a contractor that best suits your needs is to be sure of your needs and goals for the project. Getting multiple estimates before accepting a proposal and choosing the one that best suits your budget is also beneficial.

What are the three methods of selecting a contractor?

There are many ways that you can select a contractor. You can opt for competitive bidding, negotiated contracting or equal opportunity policies.

What are the four ways a contract can be classified?

Contracts are grouped into four types based on their performance: Unilateral Contracts Bilateral Contracts, Executed Contracts Executory Contracts.