Information for consumers

Hiring a contractor

Whether you’re looking to fix a leaking roof, spruce up your yard, do some basement work, or get a whole house makeover, chances are you’ll be dealing with prepaid contractors. This means you will be asked to pay deposit for the work that should be done as agreed to in a contract.

To help ensure your home project goes as smooth as possible, make sure to do the following before you spend any money:

?  Contact your home insurance agent

Before starting your home project, talk with your insurance agent to assess the impact of the project on your policy as well as construction/renovation-related accidents and liability risks.

?  Get written estimates from more than one business

Just like you would shop around to find the best deal for a TV, you can shop around to find the best offer to get your project done. Share your project description with multiple businesses to find the offer that fits your budget. A written estimate should include:

  • a complete description of the work that will be done
  • the type and quality of materials that will be used
  • the project start and completion dates
  • itemized costs and the total price
  • a statement of any guarantees made by the contractor
  • the required method of payment.

?  Ask around for recommendations

The best way to find a reputable business is through other satisfied customers. Ask around – your family, friends, neighbours may have good recommendations.

?  Get a written contract in place

Never accept verbal agreements – always insist on written contracts. Don’t sign a contract you don’t understand. And, don’t sign a contract unless you’ve seen a proof of:

  • a business licence, including prepaid contracting licence from Service Alberta
  • any residential construction permits from municipal government, if applicable
  • a certification, if dealing with specific tradespeople such as electricians
  • a security posted with Service Alberta
  • an insurance certificate showing public liability and property damage coverage for all workers on the job
  • an outline with project deliverables and timelines
  • a formal payment schedule.

? Don’t provide any deposits until you sign the contract

? Make sure that any changes to the contract are authorized in writing