Hiring Qualified & Insured Contractors When Doing Work On Your Home Or Business

At Nation West, we work with homeowners and business owners who are building new properties or conducting renovations. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to have negative experiences with disreputable contractors. These contractors are often underinsured or uninsured, leaving property owners on the hook for unfinished work, accidents, and other problems.


In this article, we’re going to help you find qualified and insured contractors for renovations and new builds. We’ll also explore the types of insurance those contractors need. Let’s dive right in!

Create a List of Potential Contractors: Leveraging Local Building Supply Stores, Friends, and More

There are plenty of different sources you can use to find reputable contractors. These sources include:


  • Friends and family members
  • Local home builders and renovators associations
  • Local building supply stores
  • The municipal building department


This list isn’t exhaustive—you can also talk to your professional contacts. These individuals are incentivized to give solid recommendations—they want to keep doing business with you! By talking to doctors, lawyers, bankers, and other professionals—many of whom will already have an extensive network of contacts—you’ll be able to create a list of potential contractors to work with.

Narrowing Down the List: Make Sure Your Contractor Has the Appropriate Insurance

Depending on the type of work you’ll be doing, your contractor will need a number of different types of insurance, including:


  • Liability Insurance, Including Bodily Injury and Property Damage


  • Course of Construction (CoC)Insurance


You may also want to find contractors with pollution liability insurance and other types of insurance, depending on the project at hand. Expensive commercial projects should be handled by a contractor who is bonded—this gives you protection if you undergo financial losses as a result of a failure by the contractor to meet the terms stipulated in your contract.

Choose the Cream of the Crop: Look at Reviews When Hiring a Contractor

There are plenty of contractors available in any city; Winnipeg (where Nation West is located) is no exception. When hiring a contractor, you should look at reviews from a variety of different sources to narrow down your search—there’s no reason to hire a contractor with a bad reputation. Sources for reviews include:


  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Google
  • Yelp
  • HomeAdvisor


Look through these reviews before you hire a contractor or get any work done—this can save you headaches down the road. 

Keep Yourself Safe: Get a Written Contract

Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they aren’t written on—you need a written contract to keep safe. Your written contract should include:


  • A description of the work to be done, including type and quality of materials that will be used
  • Details about subcontracting
  • Who is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and ensuring that inspections and approvals are conducted
  • A guarantee that work will be done according to local codes
  • A statement that the contractor is responsible for cleaning the job site, including debris, once work is completed
  • A clearly itemized payment schedule
  • Warranties, including what is covered, for how long, and how you will be compensated if there are problems
  • A Certificate of Insurance showing the contractor’s liability and property damage insurance, as well as any other applicable insurance
  • An outline of cancellation rights 


Trust Your Gut

You can do all the research you want into contractors, but there’s something to be said for instinct.  Make sure you trust your gut if you suspect there’s something amiss—even if everything looks right on paper. Never ever hire a “ handyman” who will do the work for cash. It isn’t worth the headache when a future claim is denied due to poor workmanship.


At the end of the day, it’s your decision whether or not to work with a contractor; don’t let anyone pressure you. Should something go wrong, you may still have some level of protection—talk to your insurance company to see how it can protect you when a contractor is working on your property.


Here at Nation West, we can help you find Course of Construction insurance and other insurance policies to protect you during renovations or new builds. Contact us today! 

Ken Coughlin

About the Author

Ken Coughlin


Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the insurance industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Negotiation, Budgeting, Business Planning, Operations Management, and Property & Casualty Insurance.

Read More