Top 10 things to look for in a contractor

1. A Certificate of Recognition (COR) for their safety manual and program

Does the contractor have a current Certificate of Recognition (COR) for their safety manual and safety program? Occupational Health and Safety must have certified their safety program within the past three years for it to be valid. What steps are done to ensure their safety and your safety? If you see something being done unsafe or you’re unsure of what specific tasks are required to complete a job, you should ask a contractor to see his Safe Work Practices and Safe Work Policies.

2. Age of the company

How long has the company been around for? New companies come and go; they may offer you a warranty, but what good is it when they’re in receivership a few months later?

3. Experience with similar jobs

Has your contractor done many jobs similar to yours? Or is this the first time he’s done a project over 10 000 square feet? Contractors may bite off more than they can chew, without understanding the complexity of a large scale project. The reverse is also true: is the contractor suited to do a smaller job? Ask the contractor about past projects that are similar to yours.

4. Availability of equipment

If something goes wrong on a job, will the contractor have the equipment to finish the job? Do they have mechanics that are capable of repairing broken equipment? If a piece of equipment breaks on the job, it might delay the whole jobs weeks or months if there is no available replacement.

5. Experience of employees

How long have the employees been with the company? Are they seasoned employees or is this job the first job for these employees? Are the foremen and supervisors capable or getting the job done quickly, efficiently, and up to your standards? Ask who will be involved in your project and what their experience is.

6. Workers Compensation Board Coverage & Insurance

If something happens on a job, does the contractor carry insurance? Are they currently covered by the Workers Compensation Board? If they aren’t, you could be financially responsible.

7. Availability of personnel

Does your contractor only work 9 to 5? Or are they willing to come in at odd hours to complete your job? Can they work with you to develop a schedule that works for everyone? If something goes wrong in the middle of the night, do you know who you can contact? You should be able to plan out a schedule with your contractor.

8. Payment after the work is done

On larger projects that last for months, monthly progress payments are typical. Be cautious of contractors who ask for payments upfront. You should only be asked to pay once the work is completed.

9. They’re more focused on getting things right than getting a cheque

If your contractor is rushing through the job and cutting corners, you’re going to have problems. You can hide a lot of things with a coat of paint and unless you know what problems arise as a job goes on, you may be in for a big surprise later on. Make sure the contractor is following the manufacturer’s specifications for installing a product, from preparation to final installation. Ask what products the contractor is using and how they install them.

10. They’ll stand by their work

If there’s something you’re unhappy with, will the contractor fix it? How does the contractor deal with deficiencies should they arise? If you’re going to spend a large amount of money on a project, you should be happy with the final product. Again, check out the manufacturers recommendations for the products being installed.