Started in 1994, Sierra Construction Group has grown our services from Infrastructure projects to include professional divisions focused on Design-Build, Construction Management, General Contracting, Bridges, and Aggregates, so we know the importance of hiring a strong contractor, regardless of the type of job!
This month, we reached out to managers across our organization to get their thoughts on what you need to know before hiring a contractor and what questions you need to ask before hiring. We've categorized their answers into some helpful sections below, providing you with the perfect guide to hiring a contractor!
Nearly all of the managers we asked for input mentioned something to do with safety in their questions. Whether it's asking the company about their safety record, contingency plans, and/or safety policies, or inquiring about proof of WSIB - one of the number one things you want to ensure before hiring a contractor is that they're safe on-site. Whether this site is your backyard or a large piece of land, it does not matter. Partnering with a company that makes safety a priority is essential as it can lead to better project outcomes, reduced risks, and ultimately, peace of mind for you as the buyer.
Looking At the Legalities
This leads us to another popular question theme amongst our managers; while the company may be safe on-site, are they working with you to protect your, and their own, interests and investments at the same time? As a client, you need to know if they have the proper insurance coverage or the proper liability insurance. Having the proper insurance provides financial protection for both parties in case of accidents, property damage, or injuries that occur during your construction project. If an accident or damage occurs, you could be held liable without proper insurance coverage in place, so it’s important to have these discussions with your contractor before hiring. As a client, you also need to ensure that the contractor is taking out the proper permits and verify that the company understands and complies with all of the necessary permits. Permits are typically required to ensure that your construction project adheres to building codes, zoning regulations, safety standards, and other legal requirements. Without the necessary permits, a construction project can be shut down, delayed, or face fines and legal penalties. In addition to using the permit process as quality assurance and a safety assessment for your project, you also receive the benefit of confirming your project is compliant with all relevant laws when a contractor works with you to obtain permits. Another question to consider is if the company is bondable? Working with a bonding company requires contractors to meet certain financial and operational criteria, including a strong financial history, experience in similar projects, and compliance with safety and regulatory standards. It also gives you peace of mind, as bonding companies allocate for risk transfer, meaning if there is an issue with project completion or payment, the company will take on that risk for you. We always recommend thorough documentation on the job and encourage both parties to maintain comprehensive documentation of all project-related communications, changes, and financial transactions.
A Strong Reputation
Another crucial point that all of our managers made? Getting to know the company based on experience, not just the company's platform. Have they worked on a project that's similar to yours before, and would they be willing to provide references? Do you know anyone who has worked with this company before, and what was their experience like? Doing your research and learning more about the company outside of what they have listed on their website are crucial factors in the contractor selection process because they provide valuable information about the contractor's performance, reliability, and trustworthiness. This will help you make an informed decision and, similar to our first point, lessen potential risks associated with your project. If a company is unwilling to share references with you, it should raise flags as these references and their reputation are valuable tools to assess a contractor's capabilities and track record. It’s important for you, and any potential clients, to thoroughly evaluate contractors and consider references as part of the decision-making process to make informed choices and reduce the risk of encountering issues during a project.
The Right Manpower
Looking at a contractor’s references and reputation doesn’t mean that you don’t need to research the company though. When hiring a contractor, you’re going to want to look into the size of the company and if they have the right amount of manpower for your project. How many crews do they have? What is the size of each crew? Do they have the amount of manpower and experience with the scope of work you are looking to get done? Do they have the resources and staff to complete this work on time? All of these are important questions to consider before hiring for not only effective project planning, risk management, and cost estimation, but ensuring that the project is completed on time and to the desired quality standards. It allows you to make an informed decision when selecting a contractor that aligns with your project's needs and objectives.
At Sierra Construction Group, we believe in full transparency with our clients. We are happy to share client references on past projects so you can receive first-hand feedback on what it's like to work with us, and we speak highly of our crews and the company’s dedication to protecting our environment and supporting natural resource conservation in the community. Our success is based on our dedication to quality, timeline, and professional and environmental safety, and while we'd love the opportunity to work with you, we hope that this blog post provides you with the know-how to feel confident starting your project and peace of mind when connecting with any type of contractor.