5 tips for choosing a general contractor in Victoria BC

Victoria is an enchanting place to live. But, for many home owners, the experience of building or renovating isn’t always so. At Michael Knight Construction, we follow a strict set of standards to help ensure a high quality build and great client relationships. We thought we’d share some of our thinking on what to look for in choosing a quality general contractor in Victoria BC.

Ask for References, Hire on Results

Everyone knows enough to ask general contractors for references, and some homeowners will even go so far as to phone a previous client. But that’s usually where the due diligence ends. We recommend to all our clients that they visit a past customer — any customer. A contractor who does great work will not be embarrassed to show off any of his past projects, so dig a little deeper and visit a client that isn’t on the builder’s list of testimonials, and see for yourself what that contractor is capable of.

Seek Out Good Listeners AND Communicators

Some general contractors do all the talking. We think it’s a mistake to let your builder dominate the discussion. A great contractor will spend a long time listening to what you want before telling you what you need. And it’s just as important that they communicate frequently and proactively, and answer all your questions. We don’t get offended by questions. So if a contractor gets surly with you, that’s a good sign how things will go when something unpredictable happens. And it will. Be wary.

Good Work Makes You Feel Good, Great Work Adds Value

A good general contractor will have a reputation for doing quality work at a fair price, but a great contractor will go further — his work will immediately increase the value of your home beyond its basic functional improvement, providing a solid return on your investment.

Plan to a Fault, But Look for Flexibility

The contractor’s world is filled with unexpected circumstances — it’s inevitable that it will rain when it’s supposed to shine, and that the Up Island mill with the red cedar fascia board you wanted will run out just when you need it. We try to plan every little detail, but stuff happens that we can’t predict. You want a contractor who’s willing and able to help you refine your plans where possible, so when the inevitable occurs, he is knowledgeable enough to come up with creative alternatives that will fit your schedule and budget.

Avoid Cash Deals, Avoid Unnecessary Risks

You may be tempted by a cash deal with someone who promises to get it done fast and cheap. But if something goes wrong or you have a disagreement, that contractor may walk off the job. What happens then? You’ll find it difficult to prove that you paid that contractor. And once a project is completed, what happens if a subcontractor or material supplier has not been paid? Who do you think will be responsible for the bill? Protect yourself and your home — always hire a general contractor above board and get a contract in writing.

What signs do you look for when hiring a great general contractor? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or Google+ pages.