Know You have Hired "The Perfect Contractor"

When You Hire Champagne

                                           AFFORDABLE QUALITY


Champagne Renovations is located in the Grey Bruce Area of South Western Ontario Canada.  We serve the Kincardine, Tiverton, Port Elgin, Southampton towns and surrounding rural areas.

So you've saved up your hard earned money, figured out which part of your house needs the MOST work and set your budget. Now what? Well, it's time to find the perfect contractor - hard working, punctual, communicative, reasonably priced and a superior craftsman. Impossible? Close, but here are a few tips to help you when looking for that diamond in the rough.

Licenses and insurance

Each contractor who comes onto your property should have a valid license. Make sure you ask to see it and inspect it closely. Licenses are offered by the Government and expire yearly, so make sure you check to see if their license is valid. The government supplies permits for renovation, electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling. The license doesn't insure quality but it is the first step in investigating your contractor. It is also your right as a homeowner to demand that your contractor carry valid insurance, which covers you in case of any accidents on the job site (i.e. someone dropping an expensive vase or scratching an original oil painting). If a contractor doesn't have valid insurance, they can obtain temporary insurance to cover the work on your property. Some contractors may threaten to not do work on your property if you demand insurance but do you want someone like that working on your property?


If your contractor is a good one, they will have a list of references detailing different and varied clients with up-to-date contact information including: name, address, phone number(s), and info on the work done including quote. Once the contractor has supplied such a list, call a number of them. Ask the homeowners important questions like: Did the contractor start/finish on time? How much down did they ask for? Did you have any problems on the job? Was the contractor pleasant to work with? Did they surprise you with extra prices you did not expect? Furthermore, try to go see other properties that have had similar work done.

Before you agree to have the contractor do work on your property, it is the contractor's responsibility to provide a contract containing all their contact information and detailing the work which will be completed on your property. 


It isn't a bad idea to put some terms on your contract, i.e. times the property is open to them and that the contractor agrees to clean up at the end of each work day. Some contractors ask for an outrageous amount of money before they even lay a hand on your property. I know one couple who were taken for over $100,000 when they hired a contractor to renovate their entire house.  The Whole House Disaster. A good landmark to use depending on the size of your job, is an average "good faith" down payment of $2,500, which is basically booking a contractor's time. Agree to a payment schedule based on work completed. For instance, if someone is renovating a spare room in your home, agree to pay just 10% on their first day or work, 25% when electrical is completed, 25% when insulation, vapor barrier and dry wall is installed, and 25% when priming and painting is completed. I recommend a 10 to 15% hold back for payment upon completion.  If any problems arise in this time, this will ensure they get fixed. This also gives you time to make sure you are completely happy with the work. Never give the balance of the quote before the contractor has finished all of the work. Make sure you never pay in cash. Always pay by cheque or certified cheque. It is important to keep a paper trail in case you ever have to go to court. It is always important to get a receipt for every payment you pay the contractor, signed and dated by the contractor.

Caution - Most importantly, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SIGN. A good contract should be typed, legible and easy to read. There should be no fine print. And remember - Always trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.


Phone 1-519-353-7000

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