Hiring a contractor can be difficult for even the most seasoned business owners. In the digital age, it takes a little more than a word and a handshake to make sure you, your team members, and your tenants are protected. Here are some tips to make the process more manageable:
Reviews or Referrals
These days it’s pretty easy to type in a potential contractor’s business name into Google — but dig a little deeper. Do they have a website? Do the address and phone number match their listing on Google? Dive in and read some customer reviews if they are available. Pay close attention to review dates and weigh more recent reviews heavily. Relying on a referral from a trusted friend or partner can be a good idea but there are pitfalls — so make sure you research those leads just as much.
Licensed and Insured
Many companies will say they are “licensed and bonded” but what does that mean? Make sure to ask for a copy of their most recent Commercial Liability Policy. Make sure to check the date. In many cases, you can call the insurance company and verify if the certificate is still active. Just because a contractor had insurance a few years ago, doesn’t mean their policy is current. This simple verification could prove useful if anything were to ever happen on one of your properties.
Identify Services & Get Everything In Writing
Now that you’ve found your trusted contractor, make sure that the scope of work is clear and in writing. We’ve known some contractors to talk about scope of work verbally, by phone, or even in text messages — this is not ideal. It’s always best to get a written proposal or contract which details services, the timing of work, and when inspections will be done. This is also the opportunity to stipulate how payment will be made and when. You don’t want to get into a situation where a contractor is asking for work upfront without it being done yet.
There are some good resources about checking the licensing of a contractor on the Utah Department of Commerce website at this link.