Choosing a contractor in Dubai, Tips and Information

Updated: Nov 2

It is a big decision and not an easy one, choosing a contractor in Dubai can be hectic to many, how do you balance out price vs performance? Top tier contractors have a higher price tag, but that’s for a reason, they hire top technical staff, have an organized line of operation, they have a strong after sale service, and guarantee a certain level of execution with a warranty sometimes depending on the project, and that’s what should be expected; but what if they don’t meet with your budget or are not interested in your project?


A contractor should be chosen with the following criteria’s in mind:

Meets your budget (a realistic budget based on the job)

Able to carry the job within expected execution level

Can finish the job within the set time frame

Transparent with their communication and quotations

Whether it is a kitchen renovation, exterior cladding and/or complete property overhaul; a realistic budget should be set first ahead of time. There are 4 factors to consider to determine your budget:

1) Purpose of the project

Firstly, you should know the purpose of the project you want to execute, is it just to refresh your property aesthetics or is it tackling an ongoing problem such as a bathroom leak? Knowing the purpose will determine if you require a professional contractor to execute certain scope of work or you can go with a generally skilled contractors to finish the job.

We at Hammers & Ladders always recommend to not cut down on projects that are a necessity, especially if it is related to the property infrastructure; and when it comes to an overhaul or a cosmetic refresh then the scope can be modified to meet with the set budget or break it down to be completed over multiple projects over time.


2) Material Quality

Quality of materials chosen can shift your total budget either by lowering it or increasing it, so it’s a very important point to look into. Knowing different qualities of materials can help you in mix matching for different items; for instance, choosing a high-quality plumbing fitting and the right dimensions can save you in the long run when it comes to your property maintenance. Do your research and see what materials are available in the market, this way you can state to the contractor what you require and ask whether it will fall within your budget.


3) Scope of work

Knowing your project can make you understand which contractor fits to do the work. Either it's technical knowledge in installing something or having the certificate to carry a certain task. In general, most contractors would state they can do it all, but in reality, that’s not always true. For instance, a scope of work related to gypsum ceilings can be carried by almost any contractor but waterproofing an area requires both an experienced and knowledgeable contractor.


4) Having a price reference point.

This is a tricky one, in this industry it is difficult to compare one contractor to another if you have no idea what you are being quoted for, because almost every contractor operates on a different level of transparency, so what do you do? Well you can start by asking your neighbors, family members and/or friends if they have a good experience with a contractor to carry your specific job. If no luck there, you can do your research online, combined with reviews (such as google reviews) you can have a feel to whom is a good fit. In addition, you can ask those contractors for references on similar projects they have completed.


We at Hammers & Ladders are very upfront, transparent and adaptive when it comes to dealing with new perspective clients whom require help. All our quotations are broken down to item by item scope of work, stating accurate measurements, material brand and specifications to be used; in addition, we always share our experiences based on how to deal with a budget and by offering a more cost affective recommendation if needed. In addition, if we cant carry a job we will either deny it or state we will be sub-contracting it to one of our trusted partners so the client have a more ease of mind.

So, in summary:

1) Know what is the reason behind your project (is it aesthetics or necessity?)

2) Choose material qualities that gives you the best outcome within your budget, go high quality on infrastructure materials and more cost effective on secondary items if needed; or break the project down to be completed over a longer period of time.

3) Choose a contractor whom is certified/experienced to carry your projects scope of work.

4) Have a price reference.

After setting your budget, next step would be to choose a contractor, so how do you do that?

1) Either by referral within your community or search online.

2) Interview more than one contractor, ideally three, more than that it starts to get confusing.

3) Screen the contractors background by checking if they have an active license issued by the concerned local authority in your city, do they have the required insurances, are they approved by your authority/developer to carry the job in your area. Does the contractor have a permanent Email, website, phone number and office location?

4) Check projects they have executed recently and, in the past, and ask for references. For instance, at Hammers and Ladders we share pictures of our projects on both our website under gallery and our official Instagram page.

5) Request for a site visit and share both your requirements, material quality needed and your expectations of the time frame and outcome, in addition, ask as many questions and clarifications as needed.

6) Ask for recommendations if needed, it helps to test out their knowledge on said scope of work and you can learn in the process.

7) Share your budget range, if it is limited, this will help contractors to stay within the limit or they will suggest to increase it to fit your required scope of work.

8) Before signing a contract, make sure the following information is mentioned:

a. Scope of work in details.

b. Material specifications, brand and quantities.

c. Terms & conditions agreed upon by both sides

d. Execution time

e. Payment terms

Some additional questions answered:

1) Should I give the whole project to one company?

It depends on the scope and size of the project; it is off course preferred to deal with one company to avoid confusion and conflict but sometimes two or more is required, unless your project scope of work falls under one company’s line of expertise to do it all or know someone they can sub-contract to. For instance, you can hire one company to do the tiles, another to waterproof and a third to install HVAC units. In case of two or more companies being involved, it is advised to let them all know ahead of time about the work that will be carried and by whom, this way you can set an execution plan stating who will do what and when.


2) Is it preferred to deal with a contractor licensed in my city?

Yes, because if an issue occurs and there is a conflict, then you need to take the matter through a legal channel; having a contractor in your city means dealing with your local government authority instead of travelling to the contractor’s city to take legal action.

If you haven’t found the answer you were looking for, or looking for more clarification, we at Hammers & Ladders are more than happy to help out. Contact us today for a FREE consultation either by calling us at 80042635 or email us on info@handl.ae ; check out our website for more information on where our expertise is at www.handl.ae

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