Here are some scams to watch for to avoid getting mixed up with a bad contractor.
Partial payment or deposit request
Seems reasonable, right? There is equipment and materials to buy…it only seems logical that they would need a deposit. But then they bail on the project as soon as you pay them, or they cut corners on the work to get it done faster. What do you do? Never pay more than $1000 or 10% of the quote total (whichever is higher). This will establish you as a serious customer, and a professional contractor will be able to obtain what they need from their suppliers on credit.
They ask you to take their word
This pertains to contract details. Don’t assume that because you talked about it, it will be included in the quoted price or that it will get done. Read your contract well and ensure all the work you want done is listed in it.
They say a building permit isn’t necessary
They almost always are if something is being built, rebuilt or changed – inside or out. If it affects the structure of the home or its integrity, get a permit. The contractor has to, to ensure proper safety inspections are performed by qualified authorities. If they don’t want to, or want you do apply for it, it could mean their work is questionable. If you get the permit, you are the one responsible for shoddy workmanship, not the contractor.
We ran into unforeseen issues
Sticker shock – the price at the end of the day isn’t inline with the quote. The contractor may claim difficulties arising during the job (which could be true) for the price hike. If you, for any reason, don’t believe your contractor, hire a home inspector to investigate.
We have extra materials so we can give you a discounted quote
Never fall for this. Many building materials can’t be returned post-purchase, and a crew doing a job like driveway paving, may try to lock you into an on the spot deal and job. While the price may be swell, you can bet there will be no accountability if things go wrong. Never hire a contractor on the spot.