Why is there such a range in prices for general contractors in Durham Region?

Leave a Comment

So, you have picked your project, you have requested quotes from three contractors in Durham Region like “everyone” suggests, and you have asked for references. But how to choose? One contractor’s quote is dirt cheap….and oh so tempting to go with. But what if they run off with your money or worse leave you with shoddy work?  The other two contractors are similar in terms of price, but which one to choose and why the difference?

There are many things to consider when selecting contractors in Durham Region

Firstly, anyone is able to call themselves a contractor, but are they qualified?  The first thing you need to do is find out if they are qualified and skilled. Does that matter to you? It should.  If you are hiring someone to do a project, you have a certain level of expectation. Hiring someone who was trained in the position you are requesting is the first step to making sure your job is done correctly.

Secondly, contractor prices also vary because of the overhead carried by each company, or using unskilled labour. Some companies pay their employees cash (which they are not supposed to do) or minimal wages. In addition, it may be worth finding out if the employees are qualified.  Many times those workers are simply labourers. The boss may be licensed, but what about those who work under him or her? Qualified employees are more expensive than labourers.

Thirdly, there are other expenses for your safety, like paying for insurance, like paying for WSIB, paying for employee fees to the government, and other overhead costs.  If someone is coming in with a low-ball quote they are probably not paying for these expenses appropriately.  We hear of “contractors” pricing for jobs that do not even cover the costs of our materials, let alone the costs of labour. Either the contractor is going to take a major loss, the job will be shoddy, or there will be unexpected costs at the end of the project for the homeowner. If you go with the low-ball quote be prepared.

So how to pick between the final two quotes? Compare apples to apples. Is each contractor providing a detailed quote and are they quoting for the same things? Is there something that one contractor is missing? Do they provide a guarantee for no additional costs at the end? Go with your gut instinct. Go with the person and company that you like the best- that you feel the most comfortable with. When it comes down to two companies that are within reasonable range, go with the company that you think you can work the best with. Price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking a company.

What are the top 3 questions to ask when hiring a Construction Contractor?

Leave a Comment

Looking for a Construction Contractor in Whitby or Bowmanville or Durham Region?

When you are thinking of hiring a construction contractor there are many things to think about. We have listed a few questions that you may not have thought about. Here are 3 questions that your construction contractor should be able to answer effectively. If they can’t answer them, then be wary.

  1. Do all of your employees have working at heights training?

    If the answer is yes, then you have a contractor that values safety and who is meeting the ministry of labour guidelines. This course is mandatory to all contractors next year. It is important for you to know this as a homeowner because you are liable if that contractor falls from a height and they were working on your home. Being sure that all employees on the job site are certified is the first step to ruling out the construction contractors that are not abiding by the rules. All qualified contractors will have a certificate of completion.

  1. What is your rating from the better business bureau?

    Better Business Bureau logo Your contractor should be able to answer this. You can go onto the better business bureau’s website at and type in your construction contractor’s name and location to search them or you can search them by their phone number. You can get a lot of information including the date when the company opened its doors. Be sure to look for the date that the business was started and not when they were accredited by the BBB. This may help you understand the level of experience that the company has. You can also search for companies that are not accredited by the bbb to see if they have had any complaints against them in the past.

  1. Are you qualified and what makes you qualified?

    In Ontario, a construction contractor does not actually have to be qualified to do contracting work. Be sure to ask your contractor what makes them qualified. Many people do this as a handyman service or as a part-time job. If you are looking for a skilled worker with proper training to handle your project, be sure that they have finished an apprenticeship or college program and have many years of experience working in this field completing your type of project. If you are unsure about their project experience, ask to see pictures of their work or ask for references. And remember, you get what you pay for. If the price seems too good to be true. It probably is.

For more tips from behind the scenes, please see our “Picking a Contractor” page.