"Technician Tuesday": The "ABCD's" on Choosing the Right Contractor

When it comes to your next home project, finding the right contractor can be just as difficult as deciding your vision of what your new project will look like. Thankfully here at On Point Electric, we are going to provide a few tips to help you in the deciding process. Find below our “ABCD’s” in choosing the right contractor; enjoy!

(A)ccountability: When it comes to choosing a contractor, its easy to choose ones we already know and have experience with. However, when it comes to picking an unknown contractor, we need to operate with more than blind faith and on appearances. Take time to consider customer reviews, whether they be on Google Places, Facebook, HomeStars, or ask the contractor to provide a few recent reviews that you can connect with. Examining any online presence is always a good bet, as the digital platforms available to you should be able to drum something up. If you find absolutely nothing of them anywhere online, it might be a safe bet that it’s not the best choice.

One other valuable piece to add peace of mind is Certificate of Recognition (COR) certification. This is given to companies that have had their health and safety management system audited by a certified auditor and it meets the provincial standards, set by Operational Health & Safety (OHS). The list of businesses in Alberta with this certification can be found here.

(B)usiness Licensing: It is your right as a customer to request from a contractor all applicable licensing and insurances related to their line of work. This means you can request to see their actual documentation of their municipally registered business license, and their liability and WCB insurance documents. The business license is required for any contractor who wishes to perform services within your municipality and is administered through your local city hall. A helpful tool for the City of Calgary can be located here, to help you confirm the business license provided if you need an extra assurance.

WCB coverage is a must, as any contractor who is injured while working in your home who gets injured could potentially sue you if they do not have WCB coverage. You can actually search up here all contractors in Alberta that have WCB coverage, and even request a clearance letter.

Lastly, proper liability insurance is always a must, as any incident that occurs while working in your home that leads to damages could become costly and open up a legal battle, further increasing costs should the contractor not have the necessary insurance.

If a contractor refuses you or gets upset, it may be a safe bet that they can’t provide these documentations to you, which is a must when performing contractor services. Don’t forget to also check if they can have permits pulled, as under Code no work that adds new devices can be performed without a permit. Lastly, are they a qualified and certified technician? You can ask to see their journeyman ticket, and if it’s not provided, be wary and choose a different contractor.

(C)ost: A good contractor will always provide you all the necessary information of costs in a highly detailed document. This means not only will they provide a summary total, but will also detail all the costs associated with materials and work hours. Some contractors may ask for a down deposit prior to starting work (special licensing is required, so do check if they do ask) but if they request the full cost be paid up front, we suggest you walk away from that one.

Lastly, before you submit final payment once the work is completed, take time to make a quick check with your municipal services that no builder’s liens are against your property, which is a legal notice from suppliers or subcontractors that haven’t been paid and is put against your house. You can easily check that here for those in Alberta.

(D)etails: The details are always an incredibly important piece when it comes to creating a beautiful and successful project that sees completion. A good contractor gives the extra mile in providing a detailed proposal of the work to be done and will go through all the documentation with you. This means any terms and conditions that are applicable to the work will be covered, which may cover topics such as payment, code compliance, customer responsibilities, or alterations and additions; to name a few.

If your contractor offers warranty, make sure to have in writing all of the specifications of that warranty, and for how long it persists. A good contractor offers a warranty of their work for at least 5 years and will notify you of the manufacturer’s warranty of any installed equipment where applicable.

Now that you have our “ABCD’s” on choosing the right contractor, we hope you feel more prepared for your next project you’re planning and please look for our next “Technician Tuesday” Blog post next week.

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