Assemble all renovation contractor you confident with…
There are almost up to 20,000 registered renovation contractors in the Malaysian Construction Industry and Development Board for Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan alone. Compiling and going through all might be a time-consuming and troublesome method which you either get something or just a waste of time.
If you are in need to have a major or minor renovation, you should try to follow these step when searching because, with so many contractors out there, it can be very difficult to come up with a shortlist.
These are what most people would search:
- Do a Google Search. This includes specific searches like “cabinet contractor” or “kitchen renovation” and a some may just search “renovation contractor”. However, you might be stunned by too many google results but read their websites and ask for consultation because its FREE.
- Ask family and friends. Asking close relative and friends is a method can provide you one or two very good recommendations, however, if so, those references turn out to be busy or unavailable and you will be right back where you started.
- Get contact info from neighbors or developer. Your neighbor might have gone through the same process as you, so, you can ask for a contact info of the renovation contractor. Usually, in a new house development, there is a lot of renovation works being carried out which you might want to just visit these work sites, and ask directly contractor’s number.
- Check forums online. Forums like lowyat have active discussions about on renovation, but you also have to filter through ample of long pages of discussions. These debates sometimes show the day-by-day progress of a project and even on how to calculate the right size of an air-conditioner.
Get quotes from the same service (comparing process)
Most of the renovation negotiation is straightforward. Approach the one you have filtered, email or call them to compare. Keep track of your emails. Because some contractors can be really prompt and move on if some of them did not reply.
Alternatively, you can create your detailed requirements once, and send the same details to a larger group of contractors.
If you do not want a headache, try to create a permanent requirement for your renovation need once and then send it to all of the contractors at once which is much easier to keep track.
Keep in mind, do not limit yourself to just only one reno contractor. Just collect several quotations from different contractors in the same scope of work. This will make it easier for you to compare later.
A good renovation contractor will always be prompt. Why? Its because they are interested and available to take on your job will respond which will give you a selection of contractors and estimated costs to choose from.
However, looking at cost alone is not the best way to hire, which leads us to…
Check reviews and testimonials
Most contractors will always showcase their best renovation works. That is why it is up to you to get more reviews. When you get any response from renovators, you should ideally be able to read their customer feedback, good or bad, with just one click.
Other than that, you can also check for their media social accounts because there are also reviews in there which you can see the legitimacy of the renovation contractors.
Check if they use subcontractors, or everything’s in-house (preferred)
Don’t Take SubContractors! Chose In-House Work!
If possible, you need to choose a renovation contractor which have a team of workers. You can always ask them or book for a second meet up session so you can see their works space or office to scout.
This benefited you in knowing what kind of contractors are you dealing with. If your contractor can’t avoid bringing in a few subcontractors to do the specialized work, make sure he/she will be around to supervise. Make Sure to Choose an Expert in that field!
Ask to visit one of their current sites available.
If you have any time at all (depending on individuals), you can always try to ask your potential contractor to arrange a visit of their almost finish renovation projects available. This can be important to you because you can see their workmanship and renovation finish.
I know it’s a little bit over the edge but if you’re thinking of having a major renovation work service, going through this extra step might give you a clearer picture of what kind of contractor you will be hiring in the future.
Have a licensed renovation contractor company
If you compare other countries like Australia or Singapore, there are less established regulations or accreditation standards for contractors in Malaysia.
However, any contractor needs to be registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). The CIDB is a statutory body under the Malaysian Ministry of Works. They provide a searchable directory where you can do a search for your contractor’s name.
Unfortunately, the CIDB search form requires you to know the “grade” of the registered contractor and the state where they made their registration BEFORE it lets you do a search.
Don’t simply pick the cheapest price
Our expert believes that cheap or expensive quote is not always the best answer. This is because most contractors may have made some assumptions to arrive at a cost quote.
Here’s a tip, instead of rejecting their quotation based on price, try to find out the reason behind their quotation price. They might have assumed a certain type of material or overestimated the work based on your description. Always Negotiate Your Term!
All and all, as long as you are happy with their response, portfolio and reviews, book them and have an on-site visit so they can get an accurate schematic to work out a more accurate quote.
Ask references from the contractors
In a service industry such as renovation works, testimonials are an important tool to create your own benchmark.
Apart from reading reviews on other social platforms from past customers, give the customer a call to find out about your soon to be hire contractor. For instance:
- Whether the contractor was punctual in their project delivery
- Their opinion on the contractor’s quality of work
- (Important) Whether the contractor was easily reachable during the project
Never pay full up front!
In services like renovation works, you have to always make your payment according to the percentage of work done at a regular interim. Contractors have a different kind of payment arrangement because they usually need a deposit to actually begin their renovation works.
Remember to always discuss with your contractor and agree (in writing) on a payment plan based on certain milestones which suit your budget.
Here are a sample of a payment schedule for your reference:
- Deposit payment up front = 10%
- Hacking and demolition complete = 15%
- Masonry, concrete complete = 15%
- Carpentry complete = 15%
- Electrical wiring and plumbing complete = 15%
- Painting, cleanup = 15%
- Final customer acceptance = 15%
Get your plan and timeline in writing
Be sure your contractor gives you an official quotation and the work timeline in writing. This is to ensure you to have an absolute certainty and guarantee on when to expect their services to be done.
Larger jobs will also require an architect’s plan to apply for permits. Make sure all details are clearly laid out, even down to the location of plug points and lights. Now is not the time to get creative
Depending on the project scope, a larger job will require an architect’s plan that permits to proceed to project. Monitor and ensure you have all the details with you and get locations of plug points and lights (for wiring works). Now, Let’s Get Creative!