Most contractors are hardworking and trustworthy people who strive to deliver the best results for their clients. But, there are a few bad apples in the bunch that give contractors in general a bad name. This group of contractors may cheat their clients out of money or fail to comply with the terms in their contract. How will you know if you are working with one of these unreliable contractors? Look for these signs:
Asks For the Money Upfront
It’s perfectly normal for a contractor to ask you to pay some of the money upfront, but, a contractor should never ask for more than 10% of the total or $1,000, whichever is less. If a contractor is asking for a significant portion of the money upfront, it’s possible that they plans on ripping you off. They could miss deadlines, do shoddy work, or never return your phone calls again once the check has been cashed. To avoid this problem, never pay more than the recommended amount upfront.
Fails to Pull Permits
Local laws may require contractors to obtain permits before performing certain remodeling work; this is the government’s way of monitoring significant construction projects so they can enforce building safety codes. However, some contractors tell their clients that they can perform the work without a permit because the authorities will never notice.
It’s possible that a contractor will make this suggestion because they are not licensed, and therefore cannot pull the permit. A contractor may also want to avoid getting a permit so they can skirt certain safety standards when performing the work. Either way, this is a red flag that indicates your contractor is scamming you.
Wants a Verbal Agreement
Some contractors will tell their clients that there’s no need to create a physical contract because they have reached a verbal agreement. Agreeing to a verbal contract may sound easier than combing through a lengthy contract, but it’s not recommended to skip. If the details are not in writing, the contractor could attempt to charge you additional fees, extend deadlines, or skip certain parts of the agreed upon project. You need the terms and conditions of your working relationship in writing so you can enforce penalties, make sure the job is completed correctly, and protect your pocketbook.
Uses the Wrong Materials
Keep a close eye on the materials the contractor uses throughout the duration of the project. Double check to see if the materials on the job site match the description of those in your contract. For example, if the contract states the contractor will use 5/8-inch plywood, make sure they’re not ripping you off by using 3/8-inch plywood instead. It’s possible that this is an honest mistake, but if it happens time and time again, it’s more likely than not that you are being scammed.
If you haven’t spotted any of these warning signs, chances are there’s nothing to worry about because you’ve hired a reliable contractor. Now you can rest assured knowing that your contractor is working hard to make your remodeling dreams come true.