If you are a business owner looking to get a job done by reliable contractors, it’s important to know that the companies you deal with can be relied on. As such, it’s important that you know how to identify a safe contractor.
What is a Contractor?
When a company needs a job done that cannot be fulfilled by their regular employees, they are likely to turn to contractors. According to Google, a contractor is
“a person or firm that undertakes a contract to provide materials or labour to perform a service or do a job.”
Instead of working for a single employer, contractors are hired by multiple clients as their services are needed. Legally, many contractors can be classed as freelancers and are often self-employed. A contractor will sign on to complete a task within a certain timeframe, as specified on their contract.
To accomplish this, they may also hire subcontractors. Subcontractors will focus on specific parts of the task.
Identifying a Safe Contractor
There are around 1.9 million contractors currently operating in the UK. With so many to choose from, you want to know you are picking someone reliable and responsible. A safe contractor is someone who looks out for the welfare of their workers and provides the service they promise. But how can you know this is what you are getting?
From reputation to accreditation, here are some ways to know you are choosing a safe contractor.
Established contractors are likely to have reviews available. After all, reviews are the lifeblood of any business. Sources such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews tell you a lot about whether a company can be trusted. Other sites include Yellow Pages, Thumbtack, and Trust a Trader.
It’s important to apply due diligence, however. Reviews can be faked, or negative feedback deleted. If reviews seem too good to be true, then it’s entirely possible they are. However, the internet is also home to people known as ‘trolls’. These users take pleasure in spreading negativity, including leaving fake negative reviews despite never hiring the contractors in question.
Therefore, whilst reviews may be good guidance, your decision as to whether someone is a safe contractor should come down to additional information.
Ask for References
If you find a contractor who seems promising, don’t be afraid to ask for customer references. A customer reference is like a review, except you will hear direct from the customer. This may provide you with more information than something online and will generally be more reliable.
A safe contractor will be happy to provide customer references. A refusal to do so could be a warning sign that the contractor is not as reputable as they may seem.
A safe contractor will have accreditation marking them as a trustworthy service. When you are choosing a contractor, you should always look for those with an accreditation. There are several accreditations available. Often, these are related to safe business practices and cooperation with health and safety frameworks. However, there are also accreditations covering employee welfare and commitment to completing a job.
Keep an eye out for the following safe contractor accreditations:
To receive these accreditations, a company needs to meet certain frameworks that mark them as a reliable provider. It is also important to note that membership and accreditation are not necessarily the same thing; a contractor could have SafeContractor membership but not be accredited, for example.
Always choose a contractor with accreditation to ensure you are choosing someone safe and reliable.
When choosing a contractor, you will almost certainly be looking for the best possible deal. However, cheapest does not mean best. Some contractors may offer lower prices because they have a tendency to cut corners. When requesting quotes from prospective contractors, pay close attention to the prices being offered. If any appear drastically lower than others, then this may be a warning sign. Safe contractors will be slightly more expensive, as they will be committed to doing a job properly.
Keeping Workers Safe
Worker safety is a priority in any line of work. Therefore, it is important to have systems in place to look out for their wellbeing. Lone Alarms provide peace of mind for employers and employees alike. In the event of an accident or emergency, activating a Lone Alarm allows our Monitoring Centre to arrange support. When necessary, this could mean calling the emergency services.
Lone Alarms are suited to any worker, though are designed especially for Lone Workers. They come fitted with automatic fall detection and are resistant to dust and water.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 13th September 2023 to reflect current information.