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. Generally speaking most contractors find working from a kit enjoyable and relatively straightforward, and as such previous experience working with Summerwood’s products is often not required.

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:
1. How to Find a Good Contractor
2. Preparing a Quote: Summerwood Contractor Estimate
3. Key Questions to Consider Before Hiring
4.Questions to Ask the References of Your Potential Contractor
5. Other Things to Consider
6. Tips for Hiring a Contractor
7. What a Contract Should Contain

How to Find a Good Contractor

It is important to find a reputable shed builder 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: 866 519-4634

  • 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.

  • Newspaper
    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

Preparing a QuoteUse the 'Summerwood Contractor Estimate'

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 of the assembly process (e.g. foundations, roofing materials, staining). To see a sample of our contractor estimate click here.

Key Questions to Consider Before Hiring a Contractor

To help you determine whether a prospective contractor is suitable to build your shed, we've compiled a list of key questions and things to consider:

  • 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?

Questions to Ask the References of Your Potential 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 builder do a great job?

  • Did the builder 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?

Other Things to Consider

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.

Tips for Hiring a 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:

  • 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)

What a Contract Should Contain

  • 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.