Selecting a Contractor: Reputation and Credentials

Selecting a Contractor: Reputation and Credentials

If you are going to hire a contractor to perform work around your home, it’s important to be smart about who you hire. The reputation and credentials of your contractor are critical to achieving success with your home renovation project.

Contractor’s Reputation

Ask friends, relatives or neighbours for names of contractors they have had work on their homes. Probe for the good and the bad attributes of their dealings with each supplier. Generally speaking, if someone whose opinion you trust is prepared to speak highly of a contractor they have used (they have no personal connection to), you are more likely to have a positive experience.

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Check each contractor’s website, if they have one. Often you will learn more about the company – its owners, years in business, photo gallery of past work, certifications, memberships, etc. Most reliable contractors will offer the names of property owners or locations of completed work. Take time to talk to their past clients or view completed projects.

Be wary of contractors who are quick to speak poorly of competitors. Talk to the contractor before hiring them and be certain you are comfortable with their skill-set, work quality, and performance on past projects.

Contractor’s Credentials

The size of a company does not necessarily translate to their performance . Any contractor can be strong in some kinds of projects and weak in others. If specialized trade work is required such as electrical, plumbing and gas fitting, for example, do not be shy about asking for proof of valid qualifications or certifications. Years of direct experience is also a valid indicator the contractor knows what they are doing.

Memberships in associations do not necessarily guarantee good work. However, memberships generally demonstrate a commitment to their trade. If a contractor does belong to associations, inquire about the association’s standards and if the contractor you are considering meets those standards and is a member in good standing.

It’s important for you to ensure that a contractor adheres to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) standards. This is important for liability reasons. Anytime a contractor offers proof of valid liability insurance or is bonded , you have greater reason to be comfortable with their safety practices.