Is your contractor insured? Is there a warranty? Find out what to ask a contractor before hiring them to work in and on your home.
So you’ve finally done it. Not only have you determined your budget and set aside the funds to cover it, but you’re also now ready to start on that long-awaited home renovation project.
While you’re understandably thinking a lot about colour choices and style options, here are some of the first questions you should ask a potential contractor before hiring them to work on your home.
“DO YOU HAVE CONTRACTORS INSURANCE?”
“Are you insured?” is not always the easiest question to ask a contractor. Not only because it’s one that homeowners often forget about, but it can also make them feel rude or silly for asking.
However, asking if your contractor is insured is one of the first things you should do.
Do not assume your contractor is insured. It is currently not the law in Ontario that a general contractor must be insured (insurance is only mandatory for electricians). If the contractor you hire is not insured, you may be in quite the predicament if there is property damage or personal injury during the job.
Learn more about how insurance protects contractors here.
“DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES?”
Even if you are in talks with a contractor who a trusted friend recommended, it’s always a good idea to get more references from a variety of sources.
No one is questioning the judgement of your friend, however who is to say they did not happen to be the exception to the rule when it comes to people’s general experience with this particular contractor?
You can start by asking your contractor for references, but if you’re worried about those being a biased few (an understandable concern), you may want to do some research yourself.
If you’re extra motivated, try and seek out other property owners that you know the contractor has done work for in the past. It’s sometimes those who have not readily volunteered their opinion online who you want to hear from the most.
“WHAT PRODUCTS WILL YOU USE?”
This question could refer to several things, the first being quality.
You want to know that what’s going into or onto your home is a high-quality material that will last a long time.
Ask your contractor who their supplier is and do your research on that supplier. What is their supplier’s reputation? Where does their supplier source their material?
Something else you may want to know about or that may be important to you is whether or not the products are Canadian made.
Also if environmental factors are important to you, ask how eco-friendly the products are as well.
Make sure you’re asking the questions about the products your contractor will use that you’d ask yourself or a retailer when making a product purchase directly.
“IS THERE A WARRANTY?”
The last thing you’ll want to deal with after cutting the ribbon on your newly upgraded home is a subsequent issue related to either the material or how the material was installed.
Many contractors stand by their work and will happily return to remedy any lingering issues that may arise in the days, weeks or even months following the completion of a job.
However, to protect everyone involved it’s a good idea to establish the protocol ahead of time so there are no surprises down the road. If you can get it in writing (email works), all the better.
“WHO GETS THE PERMITS?”
Depending on the type of home renovation you’re embarking on, there may be necessary permits involved.
Typically the job of obtaining the permits is a joint effort between the contractor and homeowner but since the homeowner is the one who would ultimately pay the price if a necessary permit was not obtained, it’s you who should take the lead.
Start by asking your contractor what permits are involved and how to get them. If you’re not comfortable with the answers or just want extra peace of mind, contact your municipal government office for more information.
Once you have gathered all the information about your contractor and feel comfortable with them, it’s time to jump into the fun stuff, like if you should go with granite countertops and what colour cabinets to install! 🙂
Erie Mutual Insurance proudly serves the commercial insurance, farm insurance, home insurance and auto insurance needs of members throughout Southern Ontario including Haldimand, Niagara and Hamilton.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.