How long on average does it take for contractors to start a project such as finishing a basement? I've had two quotes so far but one can't start for 3 months... is this typical?
Typical...for a good contractor, absolutely! I try to book anywhere from 3-6 months in advance. This is my / our job security as self employed businessmen. I have 3 kids, multiple cars, house, several expenses etc...I can't book one project at a time and hope to survive. If a contractor has several labourers / employees, he may be able to start your project earlier. While trying to book in advance, I also run 2-3 projects simultaneously. So...I would say that contractor is in high demand, is very conscious of his schedule as it relates to his income (for job security) and busy as heck...which is a good thing! Remember...a busy contractor is likely a good contractor. A contractor on demand...consider it a red flag in my opinion.
Generally the good contractors are busy, you may get lucky and sons one can fit you in. But beware because if there fitting you in they maybe doing other jobs and be bouncing back and forth. That's not what I do but it happens to lots of people. Make sure you get deadlines in a contract and specifics in writing.
Three months is standard for a good contractor, with several years of experience; and in fact at this time of the year that's pretty good!
Not only does the contractor have to ensure his availability, but he also has to co-ordinate availability of any licensed trades required for the job (electrical, plumbing, HVAC). Depending on the complexity of your renovation project, your contractor might also recommend an Engineer's report prior to moving onto the design phase.
Equally important in the planning of a large renovation is the design , and the material selection, so that your renovation proceeds as smoothly as possible.
The three-month period will allow you time to obtain building permits that may be required,solidify design plans with your contractor, and purchase any material you might be responsible for supplying.
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