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How to Avoid Remodeling Contractor Scams

In an industry that is largely unregulated, there are individuals who take advantage of the opportunity to do minimal or substandard work while pocketing their clients’ hard-earned cash. Fortunately, the vast majority of contractors are legitimate, hardworking professionals who are committed to customer satisfaction, and avoiding contractor scams is easy—if you know what to look for in terms of warning signs.

Early Warning Signs of a Bad Contractor

Watch for the following before you hire:

High-Pressure Sales

Legitimate contractors don’t typically resort to high-pressure tactics to drum up business. If someone approaches you and offers to perform repairs or upgrades to your home or property it’s likely a scam. The contractor may claim to be in the neighborhood only for the day or offer a special rate that is about to expire in an attempt to elicit payment and entice you to sign a written agreement. If you do actually require the service they are offering, find your own contractor using more conventional means to avoid being scammed.

Large Initial Investment

If the contractor tells you he requires more than 10 percent of the total cost of the job up front, he may be planning to take the money and run. Those who are in good standing are able to purchase building materials such as lumber on their account with ample time to pay, although special order materials such as flooring or cabinetry may require a more substantial deposit from the homeowner. Avoid paying more than 10 percent of the total cost to start and adhere to the payment schedule laid out in your contract.

Cash Only

A contractor who offers a discount to those paying in cash is probably not running a legitimate business and may not be licensed or insured.

No Fixed Address

A reliable, established contractor will have roots in the community complete with a physical address, internet presence, and local references. Take the time to investigate the legitimacy of the information provided to you before you hire.

Low Bids

It is in your best interests to obtain multiple bids before choosing a contractor—but although you may be tempted to go with the lowest bid, one that is substantially lower than the others is cause for concern and may result in only part of the work being completed before the contractor asks for more money or the contracting not understanding the scope of the work.

Obtain a detailed, written bid from each candidate and choose a contractor with excellent references and reasonable pricing who can work within your desired time frame.

Unprofessional Behavior

A contractor should be representative of their company and look and act the part of a professional. One who is disheveled, unorganized, or unpleasant during what is essentially a job interview is showing you a preview of what you can expect for the duration of your project.

How to Take Action If Your Contractor Is Questionable

Take action sooner rather than later if you notice any of the following once the job is underway:

Request for Additional Money

Read your contract over carefully before honoring a request for unexpected expenses. Unless you signed a cost-plus agreement, it is up to the contractor to make up for any overages for which he failed to account.

Difference in Materials

If a periodic inspection of the job site reveals a change in the quality, quantity, size, or presence of materials that were stipulated in the agreement, the contractor may be using an inferior product in order to increase profits.

Payment Concerns

Do not release the final payment until you are sure the job has been completed to your satisfaction for workmanship and quality of materials. Once you hand over the final check it may be impossible to entice a disreputable contractor to return and finish the job.

At Hatfield Builders & Remodelers, we take our qualifications and quality very seriously. We are licensed and insured, and we are fully transparent in everything we do to set expectations and keep everyone on the same page. When you work with us, you gain a design and remodel partner for life.

Contact us today to schedule a remodeling consultation for your remodeling project in the Dallas area!

Posted on: May 30, 2018
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