GET IT IN WRITING
Having a written contract is essential. It helps protect you from the nightmare of lawsuits that can result from accidents, work-related injuries, or damages to third parties. Even for small projects it’s important to make sure you’re protected. The size of the job does not limit the liability you face if an accident occurs. Accidents can happen even with the simplest home repairs.
A written contract also helps protect you from many other potential problems. Without a contract, you could lose any deposit or advance payment given to the contractor, or find yourself charged far more than you expected. Also, there is little you can do about poor quality or incomplete work. And you will have little assurance that you will get warranty coverage or after-sales service.
A contract doesn’t have to be complicated. For simple home repairs, it could only be a page long. For bigger projects, you’ll need more information such as drawings and a specification list. Although the following list is not comprehensive, it provides examples of the information that should be in all contracts:
- The name, address and telephone number of the contractor
- A full description of the work and the material and products to be used
- When the work will start and be completed
- How much you will be charged for the work and when you will have to pay
- The amount of payment you will hold back as required by the lien legislation in your province
- The contractor’s warranty detailing what is covered and for how long
- A certificate from an insurance company proving that the contractor carries business liability insurance
- A letter of clearance from your provinces workers’ compensation program confirming that the contractor is registered
- The contractor’s Business Number or GST/HST number
- The contractor’s business license number (where required by the municipality)
Most often the contractor will draw up a contract for you to review. Don’t sign it unless you are satisfied that it includes all the necessary information and accurately represents what you have agreed to.
Professional contractors always work with a proper, written contract. Their price includes protection you need in case something goes wrong or an accident occurs. This is a valuable part of the service you’re paying for.