How a Consumer Should Look at Business and Contractor Credentials?

iStock_000070097783_MediumSafe and Trusted Canada uses credentials as a key component to separate one business versus another. 

There is no obligation for a business to list their credentials but they will not be seen if the customer is looking for credentials first. 

This is important especially for contractors.  No credentials could mean no value for your business for being part of this Site. 

The system used allows any business with an account to place their business credentials into their profile.

The business may place only the credentials they have and is reminded that placing credentials they do not have results in an alert on the business profile.

Credentials are divided into two areas.  The first part is for all businesses, and the second part is additional data for contractors.  

Let us go the different components and make sure you understand exactly what is implied. We have prepared an easy way for you to check our what requirements are mandated by province as well as links to a tool that allows you to check the licensing requirements for your area.

 What are the requirements for my province? 

Business Credentials 

Required Licensing for our trade and category is currently in place. This means that the business has a city license if required, and any specific licenses related to their business category.  Eg. A gas fitter requires special licensing.

Legal Requirements for our trade area and the category is currently in place.  Some contractors that take deposits are required to have separate licensing.  Make sure that you understand the requirements of your business. Your business must be registered, or the name that you are presenting to the consumer is authorized such as a franchise. 

Advertised Name of business is legally registered by the owner. This means that the name that the business uses belongs to that business owner.  As the business, they have done a name search for their province, and the name is legally protected. We often see businesses using domain names as their advertised name or variations of a legal name that is not registered.  The only name a business should place as their advertised name is the one that is legally registered.  Having a numbered company doing business as something else is unwise.  Seek a lawyer. In some provinces, the  Advertised Name must be registered.

10 or more years in business.  This relates to an actual business operation as a business and is not intended for people who have ten years of experience.  Operating a business as the owner and being an employee is quite different as most owners will tell you quite quickly.  As a rule, we recommend to consumers that the length of time in business is a primary credential.

5 or more years in business This relates to the same fashion at 10 or more years in business.  If you have 10 or more years in business, you can select this credential as well.

3 or more years in business This relates in the same fashion as the other years in business designations. If you have 5 or more, or 10 or more, you can select this credential as well.

Our business guarantees all credentials listed in our profile is accurate.  This serves as a check for the business owner and reminds the business that listing their credentials must be accurate. 

We have a complaint process in place directly to the owner of the business.  Many consumers lay complaints with review sites because there is no process to deal with the owner.   

Contractor Credentials


smiling worker on whiteLiability Insurance is currently in place  If you are a contractor and do not have this in place then what happens is there is an accident, someone gets hurt, or there is property damage.  A painter spilling a five-gallon pail of paint or a gas explosion for a faulty hookup place both the business and the consumer at risk.   We recommend to consumers that this is a must-have and that they should check with their insurance provider as an added check.

Workers' compensation requirements are met. If you hire workers as a contractor, ensure workers' comp is in place.  We recommend that consumers seek this credential in a profile 

Will supply proof of credentials to clients if needed.  The contractor industry has problems and if the consumers want evidence of what you are advertising, then do it.  If you can’t or think it is not necessary, then it is likely the consumer will not select you as a contractor.

Will supply testimonials and customer references if needed.  This is telling the consumer that you will provide references.  We recommend references from the last ten jobs as one of the priorities consumers should seek in hiring any contractor.

Will supply images of workmanship of past projects. Many websites are built using stock images.  We have also seen subcontractors use images of jobs that they did for another contractor.  Use the images that you have taken as a contractor.  You should be taking before and after pictures as a regular part of your business all the time.

Will supply free quotes in writing. Some contractors spend many hours quoting a project.  Some charge mileage and time for the quote as well.  If the quote is not free, do not select this credential.

Will give supplier references to protect consumers from liens.  We have seen roofers place shingles on houses, collect the money, and not pay the supplier.  The supplier placed liens on the houses where they delivered the shingles. We have seen sub-trades placing liens after the general did not pay the sub-trade.  We ask consumers to think about this in their selection process.

We work primarily with our own employees. This is a factor to consider.  Consider a roofer as an example that has one crew that is all employees versus contracted staff that come and go.

We primarily subcontract everything out to other contractors we trust.  General Contractors will do this.  Consumers need to know that this can be beneficial for lower costs, and detailed expertise.  It can also give the project the lowest cost and lowest quality of workmanship.  We advise consumers to ensure they know the names of the sub-trades that will be working on the project.

All our sub-trades are licensed, legal and insured.  This is important if you are a consumer.  You do not want unlicensed sub-trades that cannot get inspections completed or permits because they are not licensed. As a consumer, you sure don’t want someone connecting electrical circuits or installing gas lines that have no liability insurance.

Will work with written contracts to protect business and the consumer. This is a must if there are deposits.  The contract should have a start date, finish date, price, and most important, what happens if things go wrong. Contact a lawyer to be safe. Seek legal assistance for complicated transactions.

Contracts detail deposits and progress payments.  This is important for both the business and the consumer. There will be no surprises, and we also suggest progress reviews that both the contractor and customer sign off on to ensure that if there are problems, they are handled right away before the project goes to the next step. Remember to add a change of work orders as separate add-ins to the original contract when applicable. 

Will provide a written warranty for the consumer on workmanship, This is great, but what happens if the contractor goes out of business.  Is there provision for another contractor to provide warranty work?  This should be part of your contract as a contractor can retire, move, or go bankrupt.

We are covered Under Home Warranty Program.  A new home covered under a Home Warranty Program is a policy in some jurisdictions.  Most contractors offer this as a fail-safe solution.  Safe and Trusted Canada suggests you look at the Home Warranty Program in-depth, as well as some of the BBB reports connected to them  They are not necessarily fail-safe solutions.  You are better to pick the best contractor instead.

The Site automatically reduces the subscription to an Information Only profile should the subscription be cancelled.  The business may also be archived.  See When We Archive a Business.

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