How to find the right contractor to quote on your Home Improvement Project
I. How to find the right contractor to quote on your Home Improvement Project
There are many
horror stories from people who engaged a Contractor to perform home improvement/renovations & the project ended in disaster.
will hopefully help you, the Home-Owner, minimize your chances of having your
project ending in a disaster.
Over my 30
years in the industry, I have heard hundreds of stories of projects ending
badly, in fact, barely a week goes by that I’m not told of another one, usually
as I have been called out to assist with the aftermath.
Over the years
I have noticed certain ‘common threads’ through all these stories & finally
decided to draw up guidelines to avoid being a victim of a project gone wrong.
1. On large
projects, like building a new home, new building, or a new wing to an existing
home where plans need to be drawn up & approved, it is advisable to hire a
project manager (the architect sometimes performs this role) & do the
project under the JBCC guidelines.
projects may involve Health & Safety officers, Quantity Surveyors, a BoQ
(Bill of Quantities), Payment Guarantees, Late Complement Penalties, etc. The
advice below will still apply, however, you should largely be protected by the
JBCC & the Project Manager.
2. Whilst the
advice below will help on smaller jobs. Like those with a value below R10 000,
this advice is primarily aimed at projects of higher value.
Here is my
you’ve decided to embark on a Home Improvement Project, be it to:
the Exterior of the house, or
the Interior, or
the roof, or
crack in one room repaired & the walls repainted, or
a Bathroom or Kitchen, or
gutters &/or fascia’s replaced, or
down a wall to create an open-plan space, or
a new lapa/entertainment area.
the low front fence with a higher wall, or
decided exactly what you need to be done, your next step is to find someone to do it.
a Contractor to Quote:
need to find a Contractor, the most common place these days (with the demise of
the Yellow Pages) is to do an internet search, however, a friend or colleague
may have recently done a similar project & have a Contractor they
recommend, or you may ask on your neighbourhood/community Facebook or WhatsApp
group, no matter where you source the contractor, it is advisable to apply the
Star Rating System outlined below.
the project has a value north of R10000 it is important to try to obtain more than
one quote, ideally try get three quotes.
No matter where
you find the Contractor/s, go look at their website, if they have a Website
& it’s fairly decent, allocate a Star * 1st
Google reviews of the Contractor/s, there should be at least 10 reviews.
The more reviews the better. The Google Review rating should be between 4.5
Note that a
Contractor with no Google reviews, or one with less than 10 Reviews (especially
if they are all 5 Star positive reviews) should raise a red flag. Everyone gets
friends & family to write a review, that’s why it is important to see more
than 10. Also, read the negative reviews & how the company responded to the
negative review – this will tell you a lot about both the Reviewer & the
company. Also, on a very negative Review, check out the Reviewer, there are a
lot of professional complainers who live to write negative Reviews, so, use
your discretion if there is a horrible review from someone who has reviewed
many companies & all the reviews are negative.
If there are
10+ reviews and the rating is between 4.5 & 4.9, give a Star *
You may give a
Star if the rating is 5.0, but first, satisfy yourself that it is legit. 2nd Star
3. Years in
Next is to find
out how long the company has been in existence; this should be on the Website
(or on their Facebook Page) or you can take a guess based on the age of the
oldest Google Review.
If more than 5
years, allocate a Star * 3rd Star
Look at other
areas, for example, in one horror story the client used a company where the
Contractors e-mail address was something like email@example.com (for example) yet the company’s name was
completely different & there was no painting involved in the project.
So, look for
anything that doesn’t add up. Check Hello Peter, google the owner, etc.
Allocate a Star
* if this ‘Due Diligence’ doesn’t reveal anything negative. 4th Star
Right, so now
you should have two or three Contractors with, ideally, 4 Stars * each, contact them.
(Note: a phone call is far better than sending a text, using a ‘Contact
Us’ form, or sending an e-mail. By nature, good contractors are out doing good
work, not in the office reading e-mails, or texts), explain what you require
them to quote on & arrange for them to come see you.).
The House Doctor 2023