Checking References - Are You Doing the Right Due Diligence when Hiring a Paint Contractor?
I am tackling a subject few paint contractors in Vancouver ever publicly discuss, never mind write about on their website. Checking references.
Have you ever been given a bad reference? It’s probably very unlikely. Just as it is unlikely you have ever given a prospective employer or customer anything less than a stellar reference yourself. Let’s be honest, nobody is going to give a reference out that they aren’t confident will result in them receiving a glowing recommendation.
And that isn’t going to help you determine if they are a painting company or a paint contractor you want to hire.
So how do you check references and do your due diligence to make sure you a hiring a reputable company with a good track record?
Check the Basics
Verify the contractor’s WorksafeBC number and make sure their status is active and in good standing at minimum. Ideally you want them to have Advance Clearance. WorksafeBC coverage ensures a contractor is carrying the required worker’s compensation insurance for themselves and their workers. Verify that the company’s GST number is legit. This requires that you enter in the exact name of the company as they report to Revenue Canada. If you want the link, just click here. Ask to see a copy of the company’s business license and commercial liability insurance. A reputable paint contractor will willingly provide this information.
Check with the Better Business Bureau
Don’t assume because a business displays the BBB logo on their marketing materials that they are an accredited member of the BBB (it happens more than you would think). An online search at the BBB website will tell you if the painting company has had any complaints against them and if they were resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
I strongly recommend you look for a painting company that is accredited with the BBB. This means they are a paying member of the organization, have gone through an application process and agree to abide by the rules and principles governed by the BBB. It’s a good indicator of a reputable company. It’s also a good way to ensure that they haven’t just closed up shop under one name and started another company to avoid the trail of unhappy customers following them.
Check Third Party Review Sites
In Canada, the one of the best resources for homeowners looking to hire a contractor is HomeStars.com. Homeowners can post reviews of services and work done by contractors they have hired. Homeowners rank them on a score of 1-10 and can even post pictures. Contractors can respond to reviews as well, which often helps get both sides of a story. I like this site in particular because HomeStars carefully monitors the postings to ensure they are legit and not being done by contractors looking to falsely boost their ratings.
There is a multitude of other review sites such as Yelp. I find though many of these are loaded with fake glowing reviews, so be aware.
Go Ahead and Check the References Too
I don’t think it is a waste of time to check the references you got from the painting contractor. Especially if you ask the right questions. Did the job get started and completed on time? Were there any issues with payment terms or hidden extra costs? Was their staff friendly and professional? Did they smoke around your house? Did they clean up after every day? Write a short list of questions before you make the call and make sure the references you are being given are for comparable work to what you are considering having done.
There is no such thing as a perfect company. Issues come up, mistakes happen and sometimes things go wrong. It’s how a company handles the problem that makes the difference as to whether they are a stand-up company or not.
A bad review on HomeStars doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider hiring them. If you read a bad review, ask the contractor about it and how they handled the situation. It will give you a great opportunity to evaluate their professionalism. If they respond with a blast of negativity about an unreasonable and difficult customer, you might want to reconsider hiring them. However, if they take responsibility for a problem and explain how they worked to resolve the situation, you might just have gotten the confirmation you need, to know they are the type of contractor you want working for you.