Here are a few warning signs to look out for when hiring a contractor for your home. When you’re on the market for a contractor be sure to follow some advice on how to avoid someone who’s just not great at their job. Here are some of the red flags to be aware of when looking for a contractor.
“If you cannot be on the project each day to check on things, then you should not try and be your own contractor.” - Robert Metcalfe
Ask for Credentials
It’s easy to spot someone from the bad contractors list. Ask every single contractor you come across if they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Otherwise, they might not be the right fit for the job or worse, they’re not legally allowed to perform the job. Several things that any experienced contractor is going to have includes:
- A portfolio
- A licence
- The ability to give you an estimate
- A webiste
- A contract
- Certificate of liability
- Certificate of worker’s compensation
- Relevant job history
They Want to Work off the Record
If you detect that the contractor is not behaving professionally, that’s also a giant red flag. Most competent construction workers will be able to keep track of their appointments and show up on time. If you notice they are rude, communicate poorly, or are constantly late, these can all be red flags. Signs of a bad contractor can include:
- Extensive tardiness
- Bad behavior
- Keeping odd times
- Poor people skills
- Drinking or drug use
- High pressure sales techniques
- Odd payment arrangements
- Can’t keep appointments
- Improper use of equipment
- Lack of relevant equipment
Being Too Vague on Details
If your contractor isn’t telling you things directly, seems vague, or simply has poor communication skills, these could also be red flags. A large part of hiring a contractor team is simply making sure that they are right for you. So if anything feels off, you sense a bad vibe, or you don’t think the contractor is listening to you, it may be best to just go with a different company.
More Red Flags:
Should the contractor be reluctant to tell you about previous work, that could also be a warning sign. You’ll certainly want to speak with homeowners that the contractor has had in the past. This is because they’ll be able to tell you from a homeowner’s perspective how the job and work done went down. If you’re uncertain about a contractor than this is definitely the way to go.
Asking for Too Much Money Up Front
Most credible contractors will ask for payment once the work is complete. For larger jobs some companies might ask for an initial down payment to cover material costs. But otherwise the bulk of the payment is usually exchanged once the work is complete.
Be cautious of any contractor taking too long to finish job or whom is asking for irregular payments at strange intervals. There is the simple fact that professional workers will want to be paid for their service, and aren’t trying to pressure you into giving them money.
Other Things to Watch for:
Theft can actually be hard to spot with some contractors. A shady businessman might over order certain materials and simply pocket the spares, leaving you to pay the difference. That’s why it can be important to include a bill of materials along with the contract. Be sure to keep a lookout for such behaviors. Similarly, it helps to know a renovation real estate agent or have one on hand.
References and Past Work
Much like applying for a position at a company, you should be familiar with your builder’s resume. Not only will this lend credibility towards the company they represent, but you can also get a chance to view their past work in the field. Also if the contractor has a vague or otherwise unclear work history, that could be a red flag as well. Most homeowners will be willing to tell you if they were happy with the work that was done to their homes. That’s our take on how to deal with bad contractors, please feel free to comment in the section below.
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