Working with a professional contractor is part of the building process, whether to build your next home or a commercial building for your business. As a contractor, you focus on completing the project with quality workmanship while still being on budget. That involves adhering to the deadlines throughout the schedule, the building code, and being licensed and insured to protect your company and clients.
Perhaps you are a customer looking to hire a general contractor. If so, do your homework and make sure they have the right contractors’ insurance coverage. With the right due diligence, you can protect yourself financially throughout the project.
Many contractors can claim to be insured, but to maintain your reputation as a contractor, having the right contractors’ insurance coverage for your current and upcoming projects is important. How can you make sure they have contractors’ insurance in San Marcos? Here are the ways to make sure you meet your customers’ expectations before they hire you.
Check With the State
While contractors’ advertisements are everywhere, they must also have the contractor’s state license number. Customers can check on the status of their license online or call the state’s licensing office. As a contractor, it is key that you have your license number readily available, so customers can verify your status. Here are just a few places where you need to have your contractors’ license number displayed:
- Business cards
Remember, your customers might see your license number, but they have the right to confirm that it is valid. When customers take the time to look up your license number, they are completing their due diligence. By doing so, they demonstrate that they want to hire the best contractor possible, not someone unqualified or unlicensed.
But what are some other areas where your customers might be looking to determine if you are the right contractor to fit their needs? By making sure you can provide any information they require.
Do You Have a Certificate of Insurance?
Every contractor should be able to provide their customers with a Certificate of Insurance. Customers can also ask for the name of your insurance carrier. Then they have the option to call the insurance services or carrier and verify that your contractors’ insurance and liability coverage is current. Review your contractors’ insurance coverage regularly to ensure you have enough coverage and that everything is up to date if a customer calls to confirm coverage with your insurance carrier.
In California, if an independent contractor has employees, they must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Although general liability contractors’ insurance is not required, it is recommended because it protects your customer’s property in case of damage. As the contractor, if you don’t carry this type of general liability insurance, you need to create a detailed contract explaining how damage or losses will be handled. Otherwise, your company could be at greater risk of incurring these costs and potential legal expenses to deal with these issues. Your customers do not want to end up paying for damages, and you want to be prepared in case an accident happens.
Also, consider regularly reviewing safety processes and procedures with your team to minimize the risk of damage to the customer’s property, thus reducing the chance of a claim against your liability insurance. If you do not currently have any operational or safety processes in place, take the time to incorporate them into your workplace, thus reducing your risk and ultimately saving yourself money. Plus, when your team works to avoid damaging your customer’s home, it builds a good reputation for your company overall.
In California, licensed contractors must have a contractor license bond. Before signing with a contractor, your customers must know what that bond will and will not cover. Some bonds are designed to protect them from substandard work that does not meet the local building code. Institutional lenders generally require bonds for larger projects to finance them. As a contractor, you need to have these bonds in place and be clear with your customers about what your bonds insure, so they can also meet their lender’s requirements.
Shop Around for A Contractor
The truth is that your customers will take the time to get bids and other information about different contractors, including your company. They want to know that they are hiring the best contractor at the right price to complete their job with high quality.
As a result, particularly for commercial projects, your customers will be doing their homework. To make yourself stand out, have the information they request ready and make sure you completely answer all their questions. When you complete your bid, please review it to ensure it is complete and covers all the work they want accomplished. If the work is done in stages, outline those stages and the payment schedule so you understand the expectations.
While customers are encouraged to get at least three written bids, having your bid completely outlining the work to be done and being available to answer questions can create positive relationships with your customers and increase the likelihood they will opt to hire you.
Have references ready and make sure that your customers can call them. Think of it as a chance for your customers to browse the reviews of your work before they make a final decision. Good customer service now leads to positive references that can lead to more business in the future.
Finally, be consistent with your name and license number across all paperwork, thus ensuring that your customers can check out your company because they have the right information. The goal is to know what they are looking for as part of their due diligence and then make sure you have that information available. Doing so creates a positive experience for the customer throughout the bidding and hiring process.
Once you get the job, it is time to meet the deadlines and demonstrate that you can provide quality throughout the building process. As a contractor, having your contractors’ insurance and other paperwork in place makes it easier for you to meet the early expectations of your customers and grow your business.
If you are a contractor looking to meet the insurance requirements of your state or local area, our team can help. Contact us today to learn more about the options available.
Top Contractors Insurance Services is a full-service contractor insurance agency handling workers compensation, general liability, construction bonds, and auto quotes.