You often hear people refer to completing their “due diligence” when hiring a contractor for any type of construction project. Officially, due diligence (also known as due care) is the effort made by an ordinarily prudent or reasonable party to avoid harm to another party or own self. Failure to make this effort is considered negligence.
In laymen’s terms, it means doing your homework. And failing to do so can have costly and damaging results.
Technology gives us a bevy of info at the touch of our fingertips, and researching “due diligence” has really never been easier.
In a high-tech world, there a lot of things you can learn on the internet. And, a lot you can’t. Sometimes that can be telling.
To start your process, simply searching the name of the contractor (both business and personal names) can yield a good deal of info. Background, licensing, perhaps reviews, a website and photos of the work. At a minimum, prospective clients should be doing this to confirm the contractor is legit and has some reviews and a license without issues.
Having a digital footprint establishes some history of the business and even if you see something negative, you have an opportunity to let the contractor explain the circumstances.
What if your search yields little or no information? This is a rare instance in this day and age. And frankly, it raises some red flags with me when someone has no internet presence whatsoever.
While lack of a digital presence doesn’t always mean something negative, it should definitely prompt some additional questions.
If you are researching contractors and come across these digital ghosts, it’s not a deal breaker. But it should be a sign that you need to ask more questions, talk to many references and see examples of the contractor’s work. Protect yourself by doing your homework upfront.