Tips for Dealing with Residential Fitout Professionals in Dubai

Tips for Dealing with Residential Fitout Professionals in Dubai

The most difficult part of any home renovation project is finding a reliable, trustworthy and competent contractor to do the job. We understand that dealing with residential fitout professionals in Dubai can be a daunting task – that’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for your search.

Know exactly what you want

Before researching contractors and asking for estimates, make sure that you have a plan set out and some ideas in mind for your residential fitout project.

Don’t approach any contractors before having a vision and ideal end result for your project in mind. This way, you’ll get a more accurate estimate by being specific about what you want to be done and the materials you would like to use.

Ask for recommendations

There’s a good chance that at least one friend, family member or co-worker has carried out a similar project to your own on their home. If you’re impressed with the work done by a contractor or company someone you know has used, then ask for referrals.

A contractor who comes recommended by people you trust is more likely to be a good fit than having to find one from scratch.

Interview a few contractors

The first contractor you find is unlikely to be the best one for the job, so be sure to interview at least 5 potential fitout specialists before making a final decision. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and make sure to get a written proposal with an estimate from each contractor.

Keep availability in mind

The time of year and where you live will influence a contractor’s availability – with the best of them having consistent work throughout. As such, expect to wait a few months before they have time in their schedule to start on your project.

Top tip: Plan your fitout project 3 to 6 months out to provide your contractor with enough time to finish up any current projects they might be working on.

Find out what will be done by subcontractors

If your project requires a particularly large renovation, then it’s highly probable that your contractor will bring in subcontractors to complete specialised work, like electrical, plumbing or detailed carpentry.

Make sure you know when the subcontractors will be working in your home and if your contractor is managing and supervising their work – you should have as little interaction with the subcontractors as possible.

Choose a specialist

Not every contractor you come across in Dubai will specialise in home renovations – that’s why it’s important you find one that does. Aim to hire a contractor or company that regularly works on projects similar to your own. This will minimise risk and save you from a potential waste of money and time in the long-run.

Check all accreditations and history

One of the first things you need to do when hiring a contractor is to check their licenses, past complaints and litigation history.

General contractors and most subcontractors need to be licensed and accredited. Make sure that the contractor you choose has the proper certifications to carry out the work you need to be done.

Another good idea is to check your city’s disciplinary boards and local court records for any problems or trouble that the contractor might have.

Look at references and reviews

Check in with clients and subcontractors that the contractor has worked with in the past to gauge whether they are reliable, trustworthy and qualified for the job.

Contractors usually have client reviews posted on their website or social media pages. Be sure to take the time to read these reviews for any red flags or questionable behaviour on the contractor’s part.


Sign a detailed contract

The contract between you and your contractor should detail exactly what will be done, including deadlines, payment schedule, materials that will be used and who will be providing said materials.

It’s important to make sure your bases are covered, so if your fitout specialist’s contract isn’t detailed enough, write up your own or provide addendums. This will ensure that no-one is taken advantage of on either side.

Get the proper permits

It’s not unknown for contractors, licensed or not, to suggest that work on your home renovation can be done without permits to save money – or they may not even bring up the topic of applying for permits at all. Please be aware that nearly all residential fitout projects require permits.

Not applying for the necessary permits violates local ordinances and will subject you to costly fines if you’re caught. Unpermitted work will also not be inspected by the city or county to make sure it’s up to code. And on top of all that, it could cause major problems when you choose to sell your home one day.

Only pay 10% of the total cost before the job starts

There are contractors in Dubai who aren’t the most trustworthy and reliable people to carry out your work. The last thing you want is for a contractor to use your money to finish someone else’s job.

Make sure that your contract includes a payment schedule and what prompts each instalment – this ensures that you’re not paying for work on schedule when the contractor is behind the projected timeline.

To avoid any problems, only pay 10% of the total costs beforehand. However, there might be instances where you’ll be required to pay more deposit upfront, but it should be laid out in your payment schedule if the need arises.

Include unexpected costs in your budget

Unfortunately, unexpected costs come up more often than not. No matter how careful you and the contractor are in budgeting and preparing for the job, there will no doubt be surprise expenses that show up.

Top tip: Budget to spend at least 10% to 15% more than what is estimated in your contract.

Negotiate ground rules

Your home is a private and safe space for you and your family – keep it that way by discussing what hours the contractor can work at your home, what kind of notice will be given, what bathroom the workers will use, where they will park and what will be cleaned up at the end of each workday.

Keep in constant communication

For your residential fitout project to run as smooth as possible, it is best to be in constant communication with your contractor. Having daily talks will ensure that you prevent potential issues from arising.

Be sure not to micromanage your contractor though – they are the professionals after all. Hire someone you can trust to give honest updates about the progress of your project and oversee the work properly.

Confirm insurance coverage

All contractors should have insurance coverage in place in the event of accidents or bad weather causing damage to your home while work is being done. Be aware of what is covered by your homeowner’s insurance and what is covered by your contractor’s business insurance – and make sure to get a copy of the company’s insurance policy before work begins.

Don’t make final payment until the job is 100% complete

Ensure that your contractor can’t run off before finishing the job by only making the final payment once you’re completely satisfied with the work that’s been completed and you have all the lien releases and receipts. Make this detail very clear in your payment schedule and contract.

Next steps

Finding the right residential fitout specialist for the job can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Fortunately, we’ve already done the hard work for you.

Contractors.Direct offers a curated database of thoroughly-vetted, quality contractors who can bring your vision to life, on time and on budget. Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to connect you with the right people for the job.