Best Renovation Contractors in Dubai & How to Screen for a Good One (Part 2)
Finding a great renovation contractor really takes time and effort. A lot of effort. However, our lives would be so much easier for years to come if we pick the right ones. Last article, we covered a starter list of the best contractors in Dubai, and the first 4 ways to find the right contractor for you.
Let’s carry on with the rest…
7 Ways to Screen for a Good Renovation Contractor in Dubai (…continued)
5. Pre-Screen on Phone & in Person
Our experience with a contractor begins the moment we start talking with them, whether over WhatsApp, phone, or in person. Do they reply promptly? Do they respond well to questions?
Some general questions to ask:
1. How long would it take to complete a X bedroom / X bathroom for a villa/apartment?
2. How much would it roughly cost?
3. Do you have the capacity to complete by a certain time frame? We need to move in by X.
4. Do you have a design team or do we need to provide design? Is it included in the fees or is it extra?
5. Do you do joinery work… i.e. build new closets, doors, kitchen cabinets?
6. When can you start?
7. Can we see your past projects?
If it matches with your time frame, budget and you like their designs, set up a time to talk about your project, and see how they are in person.
Some general questions to ask:
1. How long have you been doing this?
2. How many other projects you have going at the same time?
3. Do you have your own joinery, do you outsource it, or do I need to find another contractor for it?
4. Are all the employees under your company?
5. Do you have photos to share of your past work?
6. Here are some ideas of design. Show photos. Have you done them before?
The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s experience, availability, and how much attention they can give to your project.
Things to look out for:
Are they on time? Late? Early? Do they look professional? How do they act and reply? If everything feels OK, move on to the next question, “Can we visit one of your sites?”
6. Can We Visit One of Your Sites?
This questions will really help you learn more about contractor’s capabilities and if their work lives up to their words. Seeing the actual homes is probably the best way to decide if you want to continue this relationship.
We had some interesting experiences with this. Here are 3 which stood out as red flags:
One homeowner (a mutual friend) was overall happy with the contractor, and we liked the finishing and his attitude. However, we came across another homeowner (on Instagram) who had a terrible experience with the same contractor. The client wasn’t happy with the front door finishing, and said she was blamed for not being smart enough to know the difference in materials, and was told she is the most complaining customer.
Contractor said we could see his site at ‘80% completion’ which looked like a 50% completion with just a few guys working on site. Site manager came late, and wasn’t so confident in answering our questions. The contractor never replied us after the site visit. Later, we found out from a homeowner there was months of delay, and the contractor didn’t come back to finish the work.
Surprisingly, we also had a contractor who REFUSED to show us any sites! She said it’s a privacy issue, and only if we sign the contract, then she will ask her clients to open the door. That was a red flag to us.
It’s OK to be trusting, but make sure they are worthy of your trust!
Do verify their trade licence and that they are legally registered in the UAE to do whatever work you need for them to do.
For larger scale projects, request for a warranty cheque and make sure they have proper insurance In case of bankruptcy. Remember: this only protects you.
That said, as your home renovation journey begins, you will always need to ‘find a guy’ to fix the AC, the pipes, the doors, the leaks, the lights, etc. So, start building up a list of contractors you can trust and build your dream team. You never know when you’re going to need someone.