Before you consider hiring a contractor to complete repairs, regular maintenance or home renovations, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Depending on the type of work want done, you may need to contact a contractor with specialized expertise. Ask lots of questions, research your options, and making sure all contractual obligations and payment terms are included in a signed contract. The following tips can help you when looking to hire a reputable professional.

  • Research your options and consider contacting your local renovation and/or homebuilder associations for a list of professional service providers.
  • Get quotes from more than one renovator or service provider. This will help you compare prices and levels of customer service; be sure to discuss your project expectations, timelines, costs and possible interruption factors.
  • Ask questions about the company and the work to be competed, including:
    • How long have you been in business?
    • What is your area of expertise?
    • Will you use your own staf for subcontractors to complete the work?
    • What permits are required for the project?
    • How much time will you spend supervising the site?
    • How do you manage health and safety concerns on the site?
    • What level of insurance coverage do you have?
  • Do a background check and consider contacting the following agencies before selecting a service provider:
      Information Services Corporation Branch (306-7887-2962) to make sure the business is registered as a legal entity in Saskatchewan. Workersʼ Compensation Board (306-787-4370) to make sure the company carries workersʼ compensation coverage. Without coverage, you may be liable for injuries that occur while staff are completing work in your home; Better Business Bureau (306-352-7601) to see if any complaints have been registered against the company; Consumer Protection Branch (1-877-889-5550) to confirm your contractorʼs direct sellers license, if applicable. Licensed contactors are required to be bonded, which will provide you with some financial compensation in the event that problems arise during construction.
  • Ask about warranty options – warranty coverage differs from company to company, make sure you understand what type or warranty is included and what it covers.
  • Discuss payment options and get a cost break down of what is included in your estimate. Depending on whether your contractor offers a “fixed-price” or a “cost-plus” quote, different materials, labour and overhead will be included in the quoted price or charged in addition to the quoted price. A typical payment plans can require 10 percent down payment and the rest in installments.
  • Get a contract – a detailed written contract between you and the service provider is essential to any renovation or home repair project. All details should be included in writing, including start/finish dates, warranties on work and/or materials and the total project costs and payment plans. Never hire a renovator or service provider that refuses to provide a written contract.
  • Ask for and check references of past customers that had similar projects done with the contractor over the last two years. When checking references, you may wish to ask for the following information:
    • If the project was completed on time;
    • If they were happy with the results;
    • If they were satisfied with the level of communication and customer service during and after the project was completed;
    • If there were any cost over-runs;
    • If employees left the site satisfactorily cleaned up after the home improvement project was finished.

Never hire a contractors that only accepts cash, offers unreasonable or extremely low prices compared to others, does not offer a written contract, and does not have an official address. These are warning signs of unethical business practices and can be an indication of future problems. Do not feel pressured to sign into a quick agreement – before making a decision, seek written quotes from at least two other contractors or service providers.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) have a simple checklist of steps that can help you choose the right contractor for any home remodeling project. You can view the checklist online by visiting www.cmhc.ca and searching “Renovation Checklist.” If your project is very large and involves thousands of dollars it may be wise to obtain a lawyer to help you with the contract. CMHC also has a sample contract available at www.cmhc.ca/en/co/renoho.com

Sources & Additional Resources for this Section

Handy Canadian.com
Guidelines For Selecting A Contractor

Government of Saskatchewan – Department of Justice & Attorney General
Consumer Advisory on Contractors

Government of Saskatchewan – Department of Justice & Attorney General
Steps to Hiring a Contractor

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Checklist For Hiring a Contractor

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Sample Renovation Contract

For further information or consumer guidance on selecting a contractor, contact the Consumer Protection Branch toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca and The Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan, toll free at 1-888-352-7601, or visit sask.bbb.org/