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5 things you should check before hiring a builder

28th Sep '22 • By

Selecting and hiring the right builder for your project can be a difficult task. If you don’t invest time checking and considering several important points, you might end up hiring a tradesperson who won’t be able to do your project justice.

Some of the red flags you shouldn’t ignore include a poorly-written contract, vague builder quotes, lack of references, unresolved claims, and no evidence of a certificate of insurance or licence. 

Are you planning on remodelling or a new project? This article has got you covered with adequate information on the things to check before hiring a builder. It will help you detect the above red flags in the initial stage and hire competent builders for the task. 

Article Summary

  • Previous work
  • License and insurance
  • Warranty of materials used
  • Project timeline
  • Written quote


1. Previous Work

Selecting a competent builder requires you to assess their past projects. If possible, consider looking into projects similar to yours. Therefore, consider asking for references from a builder. A good builder should be able to provide such details to you. 

Suppose a builder has provided the details; what will you be looking for? Check on the list of the clients they have worked with recently. Get in contact with them and enquire about how the builder managed the project’s timelines, quality, communication, estimates, etc. You can as well check other customers’ online reviews.

This approach will help you understand the kind of builder you’ll be dealing with and if they can deliver the project within your expectations. 

2. Licence and Insurance

Most builders should have a certificate of insurance, and those with employees should also have employee liability insurance. Therefore, don’t skip or fear asking about it. 

Genuine and reputable builders will prove they are insured. Some will provide it in their marketing materials or highlight it in conversation. If not, a builder who can’t provide evidence of insurance is a big red flag you shouldn’t ignore. 


3. Warranty of Material Used

When hiring a builder, you expect them to deliver a high-quality outcome. However, projects involve different people to complete, and some problems you haven’t anticipated might arise. Therefore, it’s vital to ask about their warranty. 

Suppose a contractor or a builder offer warranties, then ensure they commit it in writing. Avoid such commitments in a conversation or a phone call. That will help you fix some of the problems that might occur within the validity of the warranty. 

Additionally, enquire about the materials a builder will be using in your project and have manufacturers’ warranties. A competent builder understands that they should provide their clients with a specification sheet of the materials for the project. Basically, it highlights the kind of materials to be used. As a client, you should enquire and see samples or a showcase of the materials. 

4. Project Timeline 

A good builder should give you a reasonable estimate of how long it will take them to complete the project after exploring all the details. However, a builder promising specific timelines before getting all the details can be a red flag. 

Generally, consider a builder who commits to genuine timelines and one who honestly explains why your project might take a particular time. Avoid those who commit to a short timeline for big projects because they are likely to under-deliver. 


5. Written Quote

As a client, avoid accepting rough estimates of how much your project will cost. Ask for a written quote from your builder highlighting all requirements, how much builder labour costs, material prices, etc. It will help you easily manage your finances and still understand how your money is being used. 

Building projects can be expensive and requires you to do your due diligence. Among the questions, most people ask themselves is, “How much does a builder cost?” Builders charge different rates from approximately $85 to $160 per hour depending on several factors such as nature of work, location, and building services offered. However, some builders opt to charge their services at a flat rate or per project. 

Above are the key things you must check before hiring a builder. They will help you select the best and most competent builders with the right skills and knowledge related to your project. As a result, you’re likely to hire a builder who will deliver quality. 

Also, consider meeting several builders while hiring. It gives you variety and the chance to narrow down to the best among all. 

Lastly, depending on your project’s size, ensure you get a written contract covering everything you agreed. It’s an essential document that can help you recover some of your money in case the builder doesn’t deliver as agreed.

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