How To Hire A General Contractor

May 16, 2023

So you’ve finally decided. It’s time. You need to renovate. You can’t stand your kitchen for one more second and you’ve yanked the front door closed one last time. You’ve talked with your partner and they agree: Let’s get some quotes. You think to yourself: I’ll call a contractor or two, pick the best one and get my home renovated.

So you search: ‘General Contractor North Vancouver’ and you find a few companies with lots of five star reviews and nice looking websites.

You gather up their names and numbers on a post-it note and you’ll start calling a few tomorrow morning over coffee.

Not. So. Fast.

Here’s something you wouldn’t expect a contractor writing a blog post to tell you: You aren’t ready to talk to a contractor – yet.

Instead of cold calling contractors before you’re ready, start with these steps:

Figure Out Exactly What You Need And What You Don’t

There’s no point in doing more than you need with your renovation, but sometimes, economies of scale can play in your favour. Say you’re planning to renovate you bathroom, but you also want to re-do the flooring on the main floor and spruce up the laundry room. I would recommend you do all 3 projects at the same time, using a general contractor once, for one fixed price. This keeps costs under control and keeps the projects from affecting one another badly. ie: we took part in a renovation project where the floor was so out of level the bathroom tile needed to be raised by 1″ to compensate!

A quick and easy way to keep track of all of the projects you need to complete in your home, we put together an easy to use 1 page checklist. Click HERE to download it.

Vet Your Contractor Hopefuls

Before you contact a contractor, make sure to check their credentials. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Reviews. Make sure to check the negative reviews too. Sometimes these are just angry clients, but sometimes these can lead to good info about the company. Maybe they’re slow but the quality is good. Maybe the value is good but the quality is really low. Maybe they have bad taste in design. The best non-biased place for reviews are Google, Houzz, Yelp, HomeStars and Trusted Pros. Why are they the best? Because contractor’s can’t change reviews on these websites.
  • WorkSafeBC, Business License. These are two that you can look up yourself. Remember: Your contractor must have WorkSafeBC or you become the prime contractor if they get hurt. Yes, that means that YOU pay if they are injured. It’s your responsibility to look this up beforehand. Head to the WorkSafeBC website and request a clearance letter to make sure your contractor is ‘in good standing’ with WorkSafe. Searching a business license is easy too. Head to the District or North Van, District of West Van or City or North Van websites to and search your contractor’s name.
  • Friends. Ask others if they’ve used the companies you’re thinking about calling and ask them if the know anyone who has used them, and what there experience was. Sometimes, things that bother others won’t bother you and vice versa.
  • Niche. Make sure they have operated in your service area before and that they specialize in home renovations. Home renovations are all about customer service, and contractors that don’t have experience working inside homes can cause problems.
Consider A Full Service General Contractor

This is also known as a design-build contractor. With a contractor like us, we provide the design services, the permit, the construction, everything. It’s an approach that takes the high stakes elements of construction and puts them in the hands of a capable and experienced contractor.