Hiring a Contractor
If you are considering hiring a contractor to help assemble your Summerwood structure, we recommend that you do some research. It is important to enlist the services of a qualified contractor who understands your expectations for the project. Rates can also vary significantly and you should request a quote before any assembly work begins.
We provide a wealth of information that is not only helpful to novice builders but also experienced contractors. Be sure to have your contractor view the following:
- Information: This section provides handy details that can help prepare your contractor for the task at hand and answer any questions they may have about our structures.
- Professionals: This section has been designed for the trade professionals who purchase our products. Have your contractor take a look.
- Video: Our installation video, assembly animation, and 3D tours are all useful tools for you and your contractor to review.
If you have any questions, please Contact Us. You can also click on the one of the following links for additional tips that will help you when hiring a contractor:
- How to Find a Good Contractor
- Preparing a Quote: Summerwood Contractor Estimate
- Key Questions to Consider Before Hiring
- Questions to Ask the References of Your Potential Contractor
- Other Things to Consider
- Tips for Hiring a Contractor
- What a Contract Should Contain
It is important to find a reputable contractor who is not only experienced but suitable for the task at hand. Here are some of the ways you can find a good contractor:
- Call us!
Summerwood has a growing referral list of contractors who have previously built our products for other customers. Call us to see if we have a contractor in your area: 1 866 519-4634. Online Check online for a number of online resources such as www.contractors.com that can assist you in finding an experienced and suitable contractor in your area.
- Personal Referral
A friend or neighbor can recommend a good contractor if they were happy with the work done on a previous project. Asking for a personal referral helps to take away the worry that comes with hiring a contractor whose work you aren't familiar with.
- Professional Referral
Your local building materials store may be able to provide a list of recommended contractors who perform quality work and are located in your area.
Look in the classified section of your local paper. Remember to check the references of the advertised contractor to ensure that they are reputable and suitable for your project.
We make it very easy for you to prepare a quote with your contractor. Summerwood's 'contractor estimate' offers a time estimate for each of our on-site photos (as well as our Custom Design Centre configurations). The estimate outlines how long it should take to assemble that particular structure and breaks down the process into separate components. This provides an excellent checklist for the prospective contractor: they can review all elements of the assembly process (e.g. foundations, roofing materials, staining). To see a sample of our contractor estimate click here.
To help you determine whether a prospective contractor is suitable for your project, we've compiled a list of key questions and things to consider:
Ask for a list of references and phone each one for feedback. See our Questions to Ask the References of Your Potential Contractor (Link to corresponding info below) for more information.
- Ask for a list of completed projects and if possible, look at the finished products in person to evaluate the work that was done.
- How long has the contractor been in business?
- How many jobs has he previously completed that are similar to your current project?
- Were your phone calls returned quickly?
- Did you feel comfortable with the prospective contractor?
When considering a prospective contractor, we recommend that you ask for references and a list of completed projects. We encourage you to follow up on each reference by asking the following questions:
- Did the contractor do a great job?
- Did the contractor keep to the schedule and contract terms?
- Were there any surprises during the job? If so, how did the contractor handle them?
- Was the contractor easy to contact while the work was in progress?
- Would you hire the contractor again?
Apart from the basic assembly of your structure, there are other important considerations to review with your contractor to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Foundation, shingling, staining-these and other important items are discussed on page two of the Summerwood Contractor Estimate (Link to corresponding info above).
- Talk to more than one contractor. Do not automatically accept the lowest bid you receive. You must feel confident in the service they are going to provide.
- When the contractors are looking at your project, listen to their input because experienced contractors can often point out unseen problems.
- Ensure that all bids are based on the same set of specifications.
- Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ensure you understand the reasons for any variations in price.
- Beware of any bid that is substantially lower than others you receive; it may indicate that the contractor has made a mistake or is not including all the work quoted by his or her competitors. You may be headed for a dispute with your contractor if you accept an abnormally low bid (they may surprise you with unforeseen charges once the work begins).
- Ensure that the contractor's license is valid and that it belongs to the person with whom you are dealing.
- Ask for a copy of the contractor's insurance coverage. Your contractor should have two types of insurance to protect you while the work is being done: General Liability Insurance which covers any accidental damage that could occur on your property during the job; and Workers Compensation Insurance which covers possible work related injuries that may be incurred by the contractor on the job site.
- All contracts should be in writing and include everything you have agreed upon as well as the extent of the work to be done. Be as specific as possible and keep a copy of the contract for your records. The contract should include the final cost and payment dates.
- Keep a job file which contains all the papers related to your project (e.g. contract, bills and invoices)
Outline of Work: Provides a clear definition of all the work that is to be done.
Schedule: Clearly indicates the date the job will begin, the hours to be worked, and an estimated job completion date.
Insurance: Indicates that the contractor has insurance, and includes the name of the insurance company as well as any supporting documents.
Warranties: Ask that all written warranties be provided for workmanship.
Payment: It is normal for contractors to request a down payment; however, each contractor will have their own policies. Some expect 1/2 down to start and the other 1/2 to be paid upon completion. Prior to any final payments, confirm that the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
Other Issues: Some specific issues to address may include the equipment on the lawn, damaged household items, clean up, working hours and debris. Ensure that these issues are to your satisfaction.
If you have any further questions or concerns about hiring a contractor, please Contact Us. We have extensive experience in the field and a long history of recognizing quality work. We are happy to offer advice and suggestions.