How to Find Good Trades

Written by Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV's Income Property

We get an overwhelming amount of requests for recommendations for trades people, and while I can't suggest an individual contractor in your area, I always start by doing my research. I've provided a checklist below that I use to find good trades:

  1. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Word of mouth is often the best and most honest advertising.
  2. Phone the trades people on your list, interview each of them and include the following questions:
    1. Are they licensed?
    2. Do they have insurance?
    3. How long have they been in business for and what is there area of expertise?
    4. How much money do they require as a down payment for the work?
    5. How much time do they expect the project to take?
    6. Can they provide you with a number of references and photos of recent projects?
    7. Do they guarantee their work?
  3. Think about the interaction you had with the company or individual during your interview - were they courteous, knowledgeable and forthcoming with information and references? A first impression is a pretty good indicator of your future interactions.
  4. Next, follow up on the references provided. Ask about their experiences and if the work met the expectations of the contract.
  5. Get bids from a number of different companies and when you're ready to proceed, be sure to get all of the details in a written contract and review it carefully. Ask questions if you have them.
  6. Finally, never pay the full amount until the job is completed and you are satisfied with the work.

The more information you have the better. Good luck with your projects!