Whether you need your home’s exterior painted or an entirely new addition constructed, hiring a home contractor is a job in itself. Because of the skill involved, you want a professional that offers a fair price for quality work. Although you can call references and check the Better Business Bureau as a starting point, there are other scams that you should be aware of to find a reputable contractor.
Knocking On Doors
If you discover a contractor just because they are literally knocking on neighborhood doors, it is a sign that you should move on to the next company. Reputable contractors do not cold call customers in this manner. They may solicit customers at community events or through references in the neighborhood, but only questionable contractors travel the streets for business. They are essentially looking for an easy opportunity to scam you.
You may have found a contractor you feel comfortable with, but they are insisting on a full payment upfront. They may even be aggressive during the negotiation. Because many homeowners are not familiar with contracting work, they assume its standard to pay cash upfront. However, scam contractors will take the money and never return. Quality contractors ask for a small percentage upfront, such as 10 percent, to solidify the agreement and start material purchases.
Insisting You Handle Permits
When you hire a contractor, they go over the construction detail with you, agree on the project’s parameters and obtain all the necessary permits. Scam contractors, however, will insist that you handle the permits. Essentially, you need to visit local government offices to go over the construction details. Obtaining the permits is the contractor’s job because they can explain the details thoroughly. Avoiding government offices is a red flag that they are trying some form of scam.
No Documented Insurance Or License
One of the first items you need to ask for when interviewing your potential contractor is license and insurance. Every contractor needs to have a current license in the state they work within. A license from Utah is not valid if the contractor is working in Nevada, for instance. You should call the insurance company to verify if the policy is in effect. Anyone can flash an expired policy to a customer. It is crucial that all documents are real and current to avoid a scam.
No Physical Office
If you met the contractor at an event, for example, make it a point to visit their physical office. Reputable contractors have an actual address where they can consolidate their administrative and field worker team. Materia ls require storage and paperwork needs processing. A contractor that insists that they don’t have an office should be avoided. No quality work can be completed with just a truck full of tools.
Inspectors must evaluate certain aspects of a construction project to ensure that the work is in proper progress, such as wiring a new garage’s electrical supply. If your contractor is avoiding inspections, or asking for you to stand in for him, there is a scam being committed. Quality contractors take pride in their work and are excited to show it off, even to inspectors.
Pinpointing a scam can be difficult with some savvy con artists, but real contractors are unique in their creative and professional spirit. Keep an eye out for unusual behavior to protect yourself from scams.
Cowart Door has over 30 years experience installing garage door into home improvement projects. Follow them on Twitter to learn more!