No small business owner can be expected to be an expert in everything, so hiring a contractor for your small business is common practice. After all, contractors offer specialized services, tax savings, reduced overhead, and eliminate pricey costs for health benefits. However, before establishing that contract, there are a few up-front questions to ask a potential new contractor for your small business:
1) How much experience do you have? Choose a contractor with a proven track record. If the work that your contractor will be performing for you is tangible, ask to see samples.
2) Are you licensed? If the contractor runs a business, most every state requires the business to have a license. From an electrician to a beauty salon hairdresser, many professions also require a license in order to demonstrate expertise in the field. Be sure to ask your contractor-for-hire for a copy of his general or profession-specific business license.
3) Are you insured? At a minimum, contractors should have a personal liability policy, and you should be able to obtain a Certification of Insurance for verification. Depending on the specific work of the contractor, you may require additional insurance, such as property insurance.
4) What payment methods do you accept? If hiring a potential new contractor for your small business for a long-term project, one of the best ways to keep him from disappearing before the work is complete is to pay incremental payments for key progress milestones.
5) What is your time availability? Independent contractors often have a number of clients they provide services to. You’ll want to ensure that the contractor you hire has enough time to dedicate to your project.
6) Can you provide referrals or references from previous clients? It’s a good idea to ask a potential contractor for a list of references from recent clients or customers. You’ll be able to gauge the contractor’s competence, professionalism, and responsibility simply by contacting references and asking questions relating to timelessness, thoroughness, and quality of work.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are over 10 million independent contractors in the nation today. Take advantage of their services as you grow your business, but be sure to do your due diligence by considering the above questions to ask a potential new contractor for your small business.