It doesn’t matter if it’s a small tiling job or a large kitchen renovation, if you’re hiring an outside contractor or company to come into your home or business, you need to be running a background check.
That’s because you’ll be giving them free access to your home, on a personal and intimate level. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger on the street and give them your house keys, so why make the same mistake with an independent contractor or business?
Why you should run a background check your contractor
- Ensure Criminal History Isn’t An Issue
Running a background check will make sure that any individual you have in your home (whether it’s one employee or an entire team) does not have an undisclosed criminal history. Many small businesses and independent contractors may not check their employees or staff members due to financial restrictions.
Before signing any contract, ask the individual for their full name and verify the information with a piece of government ID. Although it may seem strange, you’re allowing an individual in your home, with or without your presence. They may have a key to your home to complete the project while you’re at work. It’s important to confirm who they are before anything starts.
- Check Any Civil or Business Litigation
When reviewing the report, look for any documentation of civil litigation or public financial records like bankruptcy. These will show you any past lawsuits or problems the contractor has faced throughout the years, possibly relating to their employment.
Once you’ve reviewed their file, send them a few clarifying questions about the scope of your project. Include information regarding their refund policy, disagreements relating to finished product, or customer complaints.
They may consider you a higher-risk client by asking these questions, but they may reference past financial implications you’ve found on the background check while chatting.
Pay attention to whether they interpret these events as a positive, negative, or neutral experience. It’s important for a professional to always maintain a customer-focused attitude; if they’re talking badly about another paying client, there’s a good chance they’ll do it to you if things go wrong.
- Consider Their Driver’s Abstract
Although a contractor is not going to be moving your vehicles around, there’s a chance they’ll be driving machinery on your property. Likewise, it can also show you their decision making behind the wheel of a car. If a contractor is going to be running a back-hoe in your yard, it will bring you peace of mind to know they don’t have three DUI convictions in the past two years.
Most infractions are likely minimal in nature but can still provide insight into the character of the person you’re choosing to work with.
- Review their Business Account Information
Although this may not be listed on the report, with a little investigation, you should be able to find the business registration for any business within your state. Try to confirm the license number and any additional certification requirements they claim to hold. If you can’t find these documents, ask the company directly for proof. All businesses should be registered and hold applicable licenses for their business. Failing to provide proof of this information should be a huge red flag.
Just as an employee is expected to have a background check completed prior to receiving an offer of employment, so too should a contractor have to undergo the same verification standards.
When you’re inviting someone into your home, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to not only their work but their ethics as well. Theft, assault, and poor decision making can turn any renovation project into a nightmare.
Confirming a business license and registration is another fantastic tool for anyone wanting to use a contractor for services. A contractor will likely keep invoices and records of your project, as well as have firm deadlines and payment schedules in place.
This leaves you less likely to have your project suddenly halted should an illegitimate company take the money and disappear. It will also safeguard you in the event of an accident, damage, or should another issue occur during the work.