Do we know enough about the contractors we hire to work in our homes or businesses?

When we evaluate the contractors we hire to perform a service we normally consider having the following three questions answered:

  1. Cost – How much money will I have to pay for the work to be performed?
  2. Quality – Is the contractor reputable with good customer references and a favorable Better Business Bureau rating, etc.?
  3. How long will it take to have the project started and completed?

These questions are obviously important and we need to know the answers to each, but we need to look a little further to be certain (As certain as we can be) the company or individual we hire is who we really want to use.

Here are some additional questions we need to have answered prior to selecting a company. The contractor should also provide documentation, upon request to support the contractor’s claims:

  • Does the contractor have appropriate licensing? At a minimum, businesses are required to have a valid business license to perform work in a particular city or county. Some services like lead and asbestos abatement, construction, painting, etc., require a special contractors licensing in many states. If licensing is not required, is the contractor certified by an appropriate organization to perform within a certain industry discipline.
  • Does the contractor have the appropriate business insurance? Typical policies are General Liability, Auto and Workers Compensation. A contractor providing consultation services should also have an Errors and Omissions policy. Businesses performing abatement services, mold remediation, etc., should have a Pollution Policy.
  • Does the contractor have a Safety Program for continual employee training? (We don’t want to experience an accident on our property, see anyone hurt, sustain property damage, or suffer from production down time). Have contractor employees completed the OSHA Ten Hour Safety Course? For companies with 10 or more employees the company is required to keep an OSHA 300 Log which tracks job related injuries and is reported to the company’s insurance provider. Does the company voluntarily participate in industry safety programs (I.E. Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. STEP Safety Award Program) to create “pro safety” companywide culture?
  • Does the contractor perform extensive criminal background checks when hiring employees?
  • Does the contractor have a substances abuse program that includes random drug screening?
  • Is the contractor a member of an organization(s) related to the contractor’s industry? By doing so the contractor shows that the contractor is seeking to stay informed regarding changes and advancements within the contractor’s discipline.

For example: SANAIR Indoor Air Quality is an indoor environmental company performing residential, commercial, industrial and shipboard services;  and therefore we chose to participate in the following industry related organizations:

National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)

Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA)

Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC)

It is important as consumers that we protect our homes, businesses and ourselves when selecting someone to provide us with a service. Whether you are having your air ducts cleaned, a mold cleanup performed or your business office remodeled, by doing a little homework and asking a few questions we increase the odds in our favor to have a successful project.

Have a safe and prosperous 2015!

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