You’re the Boss: Mike Holmes’ Tips on Being in Control

Using a contractor for your next renovation or repair can be a great experience, so long as you take the necessary steps to ensure that you are hiring the best person for the job and communicating your needs clearly. To maintain control over the renovation process while outsourcing to the experts, Mike Holmes, host of HGTV Canada's Holmes on Homes and consultant for The Home Depot Canada's Expert Installation Division, bridges the gap between the DIY'er and contracting professionals, offering the following:

Be patient – Before starting any project in your home, it is extremely important to slow down. If you rush the job, chances are you won't get a professional job done and done the way you envisioned.

Find out what's out there – Educate yourself on the different products that are out there and the proper way of doing things.

Reference check – When you are ready to hire a contractor, make sure you get a least 20 references on previous jobs that he or she has done. "Phone every one of them and ask 101 questions," says Mike Holmes. "Make sure you see at least 5 sites and inspect the work that the person has done." Due diligence is key to avoiding problems later on. Request a license of certification of all contractors working in your home, including subcontractors. It is important that your contractor is insured, by-the-book and guaranteed.

Get permission – Before starting any renovation or building, make sure you have a permit. A building permit is there to protect you.

Communication is key – Establish how you will communicate with your contractor. Make sure everything is in writing and keep all correspondence archived. Be as detailed as possible in order to prevent problems down the road.

Trust your contractor – A good contractor will discuss the work with you ahead of time to head off any concerns.

Picture Time – Take pictures from beginning to end during your renovation. Not only is it a great record to look back on when the project is finished, but it can be an invaluable record if there are problems.

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(NC)Watch Mike Holmes on HGTV. Check for other times and channels in your area.

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