Important Questions to ask when Hiring an Excavation Contractor

Soil Erosion

A commercial excavation project is a major undertaking. Projects can sometimes take multiple weeks, months, or even years, so you want to be sure that you’re working with a contractor who has their ducks in a row, so to speak. Choosing a contractor with the right combination of talent, experience and flexibility goes a long way towards ensuring the success of a project. 

Hiring your excavation contractor is one of the first significant decisions that you will make, and it’s an important one. You want a contractor who not only does high quality work, but communicates clearly, is level-headed and manages expectations appropriately. So how do you ensure that you’re hiring a great contractor? Below are some questions that you should ask your excavation contractor to help understand them better and make an informed decision.

Are You Insured?

A reputable excavation firm should be able to provide proof of insurance when requested.

Excavation can be a dangerous job, and there are many potential things that can go wrong. While you can mitigate this risk by choosing an experienced contractor, as we will address below, it is worth checking that they carry ample insurance.

A legitimate contractor will be able to provide documentation to prove their insurance when asked.

Who is Responsible for Permits?

Every jurisdiction is different in their permitting requirements and processes. Often, excavation contractors will be able to apply for the permits required to the do the work, but that is not necessarily the case.

It’s important to have a conversation about permits before committing to a contractor. This not only sets expectations regarding who will do what, but will also give you insight into how thoroughly your contractor understands the permitting requirements and processes in your area.

At Erdem, we’re committed to transparency with regards to what permits are required for your project, and committed to helping you acquire permits and organize inspections as required.

Is Your Price an Estimate or a Quote?

Depending on the contractor, job and other factors, a contractor may provide you with a quote or an estimate for a project. It is important that you understand exactly what’s being proposed. Whether you’re working from a quote or an estimate, make sure that you clearly understand the scope of work. This means having a conversation about what is included, what is not included, and what kinds of issues can arise that may go beyond the scope of work and have an affect on the total price of the job.

Related Article: The Most Common Machines Used in Excavation

How Many Years Experience Do You Have?

In excavation, it’s not unheard of for a contractor to overstate experience to land jobs. To be clear, there are bad contractors who have been in business for decades, and great ones who are newer to the business, but this is still a conversation worth having. Asking direct questions regarding how long the company has been in business and what their previous experience was will help you develop a more complete picture of who you’re dealing with.

What is the Estimated Project Completion Date?

Managing expectations is super important when working with a contractor. Estimated completion date is a key thing to know before work begins so you can plan accordingly. Sometimes, excavation projects run long for a variety of reasons that may not even be within the contractors control but being on the same page with regards to planned completion helps you set your expectations accordingly.

What Are Your Payment Terms?

There are many different arrangements when it comes to payment, and you need to understand how and when you will be billed for your work. 

What if we run into unforeseen issues?

There are a hundred variables underground that can not always be accounted for until the excavation has begun. Rock, water ingress, unstable ground, and contaminated fill are a just a few potential hurdles that your contractor may have to deal with throughout a project. Rock in particular is very common here on Vancouver Island and even drilling test holes won’t always indicate the true extent. Rock can be challenging and time-consuming to deal with so ensuring that your contractor has a plan is not a bad idea.

Final Thoughts

A professional contractor will not have trouble answering these questions for you. As mentioned above, any excavation is a significant project and it’s worth confirming these key points before committing to a contractor. 

At Erdem Excavating, we take pride in over-delivering for our clients. Since 2008, we have been working hard to build our reputation as a quality, trusted commercial and residential contractor. We are prepared to go the extra mile to exceed your expectations. If you want to work with Victoria’s best excavation contractor, give us a call today

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