PROJECTS DONE RIGHT: HIRING A PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTOR
You want to work with a reputable contractor – one that treats you fairly and honestly, puts their promises in writing, and backs up their work. You should not deal with anyone who offers you a special price if you pay cash and nothing gets written down. A cash deal means a lot more risk for you, and far less control over how your project turns out. And that’s no deal at all.
How can you be sure everything is being done properly and above board?
Step 1 – Get informed. Knowledge can protect you from risks.
Home renovation and construction is a complex process. As a consumer, you need to know where you stand, and that your interests are protected. Some things you need to be aware of, and that should be adressed in writing, include:
Building codes and permits: Most projects, even minor ones, require a building permit and must adhere to code requirements. As the homeowner you are responsible for ensuring this happens. Your contractor can usually look after this on your behalf.
Insurance: Does your homeowner insurance cover construction-related risks? Call your agent to confirm. Also, your contractor needs to have business liability insurance to protect you from their mistakes.
Workers’ Compensation: Those employed to work on your property may require coverage under provincial Workers’ Compensation programs. Without it, you could be liable in the event of a workplace injury.
Step 2 – Hire a professional. Know who you’re dealing with.
How can you find a good professional contractor?
Ask around. Some of the best recommendations come from friends, family, co-workers and others who have had positive experiences.
How do you know they are on the level?
Professionals provide the following:
- Full contact information, including name, address, and phone numbers.
- Comfirmaton of business liability insurance that protects you or third parties, such as neighbours.
- Proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage.
- Their government-issued Business Number or GST/HST number, and proof of any business license(s) required by the municipality
- A clear written warranty specifying what is covered, and for how long.
Step 3 – Get control. Get it in writing!
Professional contractors always work with proper written contracts and estimates. These spell out a clear project plan and what you and your contractor have agreed to.
It is the best way to protect yourself and ensure things go as planned – and a valuable part of what a professional contractor provides. A written contract should include the following:
- A full description of the work, including the materials and products to be used.
- Dates when the work will start and be completed.
- A clear payment schedule.
- The written warranty, including what is covered and for how long.
- Confirmation that the contractor has business liability coverage and that required Workers’ Compensation coverage is in place.
Please note, this article has been truncated in order to focus on points relevant to residential HVAC system retrofits. If you are building a new home, or doing a large renovation, we would stronly urge you to view this brochure in its’ entirety. Please visit the Hiring A Contractor website at www.hiringacontractor.com