Choosing A Contractor
There are some important things you should consider
when deciding on a contractor to complete your project...
HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN IN BUSINESS?
Look for how many years they have been in business under the present
name and present owners. A long running business is apt to be highly
competent and reliable and, if you have a problem, they will be around
to fix it.
DO THEY HAVE LIABILITY INSURANCE?
Avoid doing business with contractors who don't carry the
appropriate insurance. Otherwise you could be held liable
for any injuries and damages that occur during the
project. Ask to see a copy of the certificate of
insurance. Is it current and what are the limits of
DO THEY HAVE WORKPLACE SAFETY INSURANCE BOARD (WSIB) COVERAGE ?
Workers Compensation insurance is required by law and should a worker be
injured on your project you won't be held liable for
medical bills and lost wages. Ask
to see a copy of the insurance certificate and make sure
it is current.
DO THEY GIVE A WELL WRITTEN CONTRACT?
It should contain the following points:
- Contractor's name, address and phone
- Payment schedule
- Are taxes included
- Detailed list of all material including color,
model, size, brand name and product
- What the contractor will and will not do
- The more detailed the better
IS A GUARANTEE IMPORTANT?
A guarantee is only good as long as the company is in
business. A good history is the key.
MAY I HAVE A LIST OF REFERENCES?
Ask for a list of customers. Talk to them. They can help
you decide if a particular contractor is right for you.
You may want to ask:
- Can I visit their job site to see the completed
- Were they satisfied with the project? Was it
completed on time?
- Did the contractor keep them informed about the
status of the project, and any problems along the
- Were there unexpected costs? If so, what were
- Did workers show up on time? Did they clean up
daily and after finishing the job?
- Were they pleased with the quality of work?
- Could they communicate well with the contractor?
- Did the company fulfill their contract?
- Would they use the contractor again and recommend
One person's idea of quality isn't the same as
another's, so your best bet is to go look at the job.
WHO ARE THEIR PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES AND SUPPLIERS?
Has the contractor or any of their partners gone out of
business or gone bankrupt? You may want to add calling
the contractor's suppliers to your list of follow-up
actions. This will help to protect you from builder's
liens placed against your home for non-payment by the
contractor. Suppliers can also be a source to establish a
credit history for the contractor.
DOES THE CONTRACTOR SEEM KNOWLEDGEABLE AND
They should have extensive knowledge about:
- Materials and products involved in the project
- Construction methods
- Design features: how big? how will it fit your
DO I FEEL COMFORTABLE AND TRUST THE PERSON I AM ABOUT
This is the most important question to ask of yourself.
Your answer to that question should make the hiring
decision a little easier. Professionals specializing in one or two areas
of expertise will be more
likely to finish your job in a timely manner while a
"Jack-of-all-trades" may take forever to finish
and do a poor quality job.
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