With so many providers on the market, especially in Christchurch and especially post-earthquakes, how do you know when you’ve found a good one? These top five questions aim to help you on your journey.

#1 What’s your track record?

Years on the block count for a lot. Ask about how long their contractors have worked for them. The good contractors won’t stick with shoddy building companies, so that’s a great indicator. Do your due diligence. Look at what they are doing in the community; do they have values that support Canterbury and that show they want to stick around?

#2 Can I talk to some of your previous customers?

It’s easy for companies to point you to their website and the glowing testimonials, but is the company willing to let you actually talk to previous customers? Of course, they will send you to their ‘best’ clients, but this will give you great information and a great insight into how the build process went for them. It’s also a great way to learn from some of the client’s ‘do differentlys’.

#3 How busy are you?

All companies will want to win your business, but can they really follow through and deliver, once they’ve hooked you in? Ask for timeframes and hold them to it. If they don’t deliver in the early stages (even as simple as not returning phone calls and emails within a timely manner) then seriously consider moving on.

#4 What do you charge?

Design and build companies should have a clear pricing structure. They should be able to give you a really good indication up front as to how much you are likely to pay for a home, based on a square metres floor plan. If they are realistic about these costs, and talk openly about provisional costs (i.e. those costs that may alter, depending on, for example, the geography of the land or your own personal choices of products), then you know they are being transparent with you.

#5 What’s the process?

Do they have a clear process? If they are able to talk to you about the steps along the way in a clear and easy to understand manner, then you know that’s a good sign. Maxim has a very clear 7 step build process on their website and is happy to discuss this in more detail with any potential client. It’s important to know up front what the sequence of the build will be.

At Maxim, we pride ourselves on building excellent working relationships with our clients so that the build goes smoothly for you.