Eight tips for an easier life, by David Cook, founder of UAE Compare
Whether you’re changing kitchen cabinets, tiling a bathroom or completely fitting out a new room or restaurant, it is important to get the right contractors on board from the start. Any renovation project can be stressful and time consuming, even in the best of circumstances, and sifting out the good contractors from the bad can make all the difference to the end result, as well as the quality of your life during the project timeframe.
1. Go online
Although search engines can’t tell you how good a contractor is, it is a good place to start your research into the companies you have heard about.
2. Talk to people around you
Ask your neighbours, friends or surrounding businesses who they have used and whether they would recommend them. Don’t settle for “they were OK.” If the person you speak to doesn’t sing the contractor’s praises, don’t call.
3. Stay local
Hire someone with local and relevant experience. Don’t take a risk on any company that has not successfully completed work that is similar to the work that you need carried out.
4. Get them rated
Call three previous clients for every contractor that you are considering. Be sure that you know the scope of work that was carried out and ask for a rating for key deliverables including quality, cost, customer service, communication and delivery. If the total rating across the three clients is less than 90%, don’t use that contractor.
5. Seeing is believing
There are always differences in expectation when it comes to the finished product. Make sure you visit at least one completed project for each of the contractors. Remember, what one person considers a perfect finish, you may not!
6. Question everything
As language is often a barrier in this part of the world, it is important to ask a lot of questions, even if you know the answers. You need to be sure you can communicate in a way you’re happy with so that there are no crossed wires. If the contractor avoids difficult questions or you feel they are not being honest, don’t hire them. You need to have trust – these are people that are going to be in your hotel for a substantial period of time!
7. Have a comparison
It is vital to get multiple quotes for any renovation work. How do you know you’re getting a good deal if you have nothing to compare it to? Get three estimates from contractors you’d be happy to use and be wary of any contractors whose quotes seem too good to be true – they will be.
8. Get it in writing first
From the start, make sure that everything discussed and agreed upon is acknowledged in writing and signed. A lot of the cowboy contractors will agree to almost anything verbally if it means winning the deal.
Once you find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with, make sure you ask the following questions to ensure that you understand and are happy with the way the project will be delivered:
• “When can you start?”
• “How long will it take to complete the job?”
• “How many people do you have working for you?”
• “Will you be outsourcing any elements of the project?”
• “Will you personally be on the job every day?”
• “Do you guarantee your work, and for how long?”
• “Does the quote include absolutely everything that I need to pay to get the job completed?”
UAE Compare has a hub of more than 50 approved contractors in both the residential and commercial sectors, which have all been individually checked, tested and approved. David Cook established UAE Compare in Dubai in 2009. Before moving to the UAE, David spent ten years buying, renovating and selling properties across his home country of Wales whilst holding a senior position within a high street bank. As Managing Partner of UAE Compare, David is keen to continue the successful growth of the business in the future.