Advice for Hiring a Contractor
Are you ready to get started on that home project you’ve been thinking about? If you’re ready to go, the first step to the project is hiring a contractor. Finding the right contractor for your energy efficiency project is important and helps to ensure your project moves smoothly and in the right direction.
There are many ways you can find a local contractor. You can ask friends and family for their recommendations, do an online search for contractors (look for great reviews), or visit Better Business Bureau listings online. If you choose to go the referral route, make sure to ask your friends and family if the contractor lived up to their expectations, if they delivered what they agreed to, and if they had any issues during the project.
Before you go-ahead with a contractor, we recommend talking to and getting quotes from at least three contractors. When you’re requesting an estimate, each one should include:
- cost of labour, equipment, and materials (names, models, size, etc.);
- total cost, including taxes and permit fees;
- expected payment schedule;
- estimated work start and completion dates;
- a statement that the contractor carries liability insurance and Workers Compensation coverage;
- warranties or guarantees;
- what contractor cleanup during the work and on completion;
- homeowner vs. contractor responsibilities;
- a statement that the contractor will instruct the homeowner on the operation and maintenance of any equipment and provide any required operation manuals.
Questions to ask Contractors
On top of asking for a quote, you may also want to ask them some questions about their business, including:
- What form of agreement do you require before undertaking work in a home?
- Do you carry property damage and public liability insurance?
- How many projects similar to this have you completed?
- What are the names and phone numbers of two customers you have done work for in the last year whom I could call as references?
- Are you and your staff members of a trade association or organization?
- Aside from yourself, who will do the work (ie. employees, sub-trades)?
Get a Written Contract
Once you have chosen a contractor to work with, be sure to ask for a written contract. Do not sign an incomplete contract or make a verbal agreement with the contractor. A written contract is what helps resolve disputes if the work is unsatisfactory.
Before you sign the contract:
- Read it carefully to make sure all the details in the estimate have been included.
- Review the fine print and terms and conditions.
- Be sure that both you and the contractor initial any changes to the work or standard conditions in the contract.
To participate in many of our programs, customers need to apply through a contractor or retailer that has registered with Efficiency Manitoba. Your chosen professional will fill out an application form with you or on your behalf and you will need to sign the application form accepting the terms and conditions of the program. Be sure to keep a copy of this application form (electronic or printed) for your records. Note, most programs require that you and your contractor complete an application form and submit it to Efficiency Manitoba for approval prior to starting any work or purchasing materials.
If your chosen contractor or retailer is not registered with us, they can easily do so by visiting the Supplier Registration Page. It’s important to note, we cannot provide a list of registered suppliers nor does Efficiency Manitoba endorse any specific service professionals.