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Reno Contractor

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Posted by: from Calgary
12/11/2012 at 8:21:06 PM

Where can I go to find out if a reno contractor is licensed? Is this license more than just as a business license that anyone can purchase?

REPLIES (17)
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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:17:37 PM

Not sure about Calgary, but I would contact your city department, they will be the license issuer if one is required.

A licensed contractor is basically just a buisness licence that anyone can get for a fee, they might even require liability insurance or some cities might have a small test on your provincial building code. My point being, you should not blindly trust a contractor just because he is licenced. It's no guarrantee of quality or that they won't rip you off.

Do your homework on any one your thinking about hiring.

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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:30:10 PM

Hi Thomas,

You can ask the contractor for his licence number and also you can verify this information with your City by calling their office.

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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:32:01 PM

Ask him to give evidence of workers compensation, and liability insurance. You need to be a viable business to register.

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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:37:12 PM

@ James, holding a business licence can sometimes mean nothing. Its just a matter of doing some homework on your contractor.

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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:39:47 PM

Don't quote me but to the best of my knowledge it depends on your municipality. Toronto I believe requires municipal licencing where ottawa as an example doesn't. Just a buisness licence.

You can ask to see their insurance documents. Which personaly is more important than a municipal lisence. Check with your municipal office.

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Michael from Muskoka Wood Decks & Fencing in Utopia
Date/Time12/11/2012 at 9:57:20 PM

You can check with City Hall from where contractor is from and ontario government business needs to be registered and follow-up with business insurance for trades.

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Date/Time12/11/2012 at 10:14:17 PM

The only required license to do business as a renovator is the local municipal license, which is issued for a fee. However, often the better contractors will also obtain the following:

1) Renomark registration with the Canadian Home Builders Association. This confirms they have been doing good work with minimum experience, and required members to provide a 2 year warranty;

2) local builders associations

3) BBB

Also, like you are doing on Handy Canadian, check comments by previous clients (versus from their web sites which will be controlled)

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David from Chetco Homes in Fort Erie
Date/Time12/11/2012 at 11:17:40 PM

Your city hall if he is from your town will have info or ask them for the number and see the license. That's it.

Good luck and have a Merry Christmas.

License or no License the best way to check is talk to people thy have dun work for.

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Shannon from Panoramik Design Build in Ottawa
Date/Time12/11/2012 at 11:23:02 PM

Fortunately or unfortunately, 'contractors' do not have to be licensed in Canada. Plumbers, Electricians and HVAC all have their licenses and qualificaitons and there are Carpenters (etc) that are classified as a 'trade' and have apprentice/journeymen positions in order to obtain that classification. But currently, contractors are not licensed like they are in the US.

Now there are some provinces that require a written test of storts in order to preforn a trade. An example is Quebec, where on each project, each seperate trade (tilers, drywallers etc) must apply to work for that project and have valid 'cards' in order to work.

Now...by NO means do these qulifications or cards or licenses mean quality work. I have encountered licensed electricians severly fail what the electrical inspectors deemed 'horrible' work. I have also encountered professional 'trades' people - WITH their 'cards' - do the most terrible work ever. You are better to judge the individual your self, along with recommendations from past clients.

There used to be this thing called 'integrity' back some years ago. People, contractors of all sorts, said they would do a good job, at a fair price, and by a certain date. And clients said they would be fair in paying the agreed upon price, and would understand if delays in work happened, because in construction, things dont always work like they do on TV.

Unfortunately things got a little mixed up, and a hand shake isnt the same anymore. On both sides.

Your best bet is to do your homework, and actually go their job sites to view the quality. AND, once you find the right company, you must recpricate and allow others into your home to view that work too.

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Date/Time12/12/2012 at 12:38:15 AM

Dealing with contractors can be interesting. I have listed below ways to check a license, bond, WCB and BBB. but I would be more interested in if they have insurance. You have the right to ask for proof. Any bonded contractor is to have the bond number on their contract. My contract has licenses # bond # insurers #.

City of Edmonton license. Call 311 and ask.

BBB check

http://edmonton.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews/

Wcb check

http://decc.wcb.ab.ca/decc/

Alberta bond check

Search for a Business, Charity or Fundraiser

http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca

I always like to share this like when the subject of hiring a contractor comes up. http://www.hiringacontractor.com/en/index.html

Good luck with your project.

Mr. H. Gavacs

Man Zone Construction Ltd.

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Date/Time12/12/2012 at 1:05:36 AM

No that is not the case. We are a Licensed Building Contractor, which is a very thorough application process through the Home Protection Office. You can go to the HPO site to find a list of registered contractors.

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Matt from Millwerx in Vineland
Date/Time12/12/2012 at 9:24:03 AM

Some contractors that are not licensed will use the "licensing" response as in business license, to fool the laymen. The real term for stating that they are licensed should be used in the context that they have a ticket for their trade. i.e carpentry, electrical, plumbing.

You can call the trade board of Ontario but the licenses are issued to a personal name not a business so you would need their full name ect.

The quickest way to get their proof of license is to ask for a copy of it and then their insurance info. If they are hesitant to provide it, chances are they don't have it!!! The insurance info is sent directly to you from their insurance company and is project specific, so your name will be on the insurance documentation.

Hope that helps!

Team millwerx

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Date/Time12/12/2012 at 11:20:41 AM

Check to see if he is affiliated with your local building assc. If he isn't do not get to excited, ask for verifiable references. Then go from there.

Business licenses are bought and paid for when you register your company name. Just because someone presents a copy of thier master lic. dosen't necesarily mean they are qualified to do your project. So due diligence is required on your behalf to ensure that this contractor is the best fit for your project.

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Date/Time12/12/2012 at 11:26:05 AM

May vary from province to province. In Alberta there is a city license and a provincial license, on top of liability insurance and surety bonds.

The city license is a license to operate a business, the type of business is stated on the license and a police check of the applicant is done as part of the process.

The provincial license is a prepaid contractor license to allow a contractor to take deposits prior to work to be done, a background check is done here as well.

Insurance is to cover property and personal damages in case of accidents etc.

The best way to tell if a contractor has these is to ask for copies of the certificates to show the coverage and the dates when issued and expired because they do need to be renewed regularly.

Ben Kuypers

Kuypers Design Group Ltd Calgary

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Thomas in Calgary
Date/Time12/12/2012 at 11:37:52 AM

Thanks for all your help everyone, I will take my time to find the right contractor.

Cheers

Thomas

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Date/Time12/12/2012 at 6:06:21 PM

A "licence" as a renovator is not required. For instance, I have a bussines licence, but that means nothing regarding the quality of my work. Now all the sub-trades I use such as plumbers and electricians are licenced. Still it tepends on the quality of the individual.

90% of my contracts come bye way of word of mouth. Existing and past clients telling freinds and business associates about the quality of my work. The other ten percent comes from this site and advertising. But I suggest all of my new clients phone and talk to people I have worked for in the past.

Or see the work.

I strongly suggest you go the same route. It is also important for the contractor to feel comfortable with the client. If you are comfortable and like each other, the best always comes out. That includes performance and finish work.

Also, ask about the General contractors sub-trades.

Enjoy.

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Mike from AMVM Contracting in Calgary
Date/Time12/13/2012 at 12:25:10 PM

Yes the license can be puschased by almost anybody.

You should always get a list of references, check them all out. Go look at the jobs if you are able. If he is good at his trade his past cleints will let you come veiw his work. Check with the B.B.B.

Cheers

Mike

PS check for WCB coverage, insurance, and bond.

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