Spring brings the freshness of flowers, the warmth of the sun, and endless opportunities to remodel your home. Similarly, it creates a great opening for the crooked home renovation contractors who roam the U.S in search of victims.
Their prime targets are the areas which are struck by natural disasters like hurricanes and storms and they offer amazing deals on home repairs. They offer to repair your roof, repaint your home, or restore your garden at a price which sounds too great. However, if the contractor is telling you something that is too good to be true, it possibly is!
There is a small percentage of the contractors who are bad apples of the renovation industry. However, there are clear telltale signs and red flags that are very easy to spot and you can avoid these con artists and scammers. Let’s see what you should do when crooked home renovation contractors came on your doorstep and offer you an out of this world deal.
1. Red Flags Before the Job Starts
A Fairytale Start
This whole process is like a fairytale. Suddenly, a vehicle with no names and phone numbers will come to your home and a number of people will come. They will inform you that your roof is in really bad shape and it needs immediate repair. If you don’t act immediately, it will get worse and you will be in great trouble. A dreadful scenario. They will offer you a simple and very economical solution at the same time. Sometimes, people do get caught in their trap and agreed to them. Never do this. Never take immediate decisions when it is related to any type to repair or remodeling.
A company that is a fly-by-night outfit does not focus too much on their working equipment. They will have a poor personal appearance, shoddy tools, broken equipment, and poorly maintained vehicles. A good home renovation contractor loves his job and the things related to his work. The presentation and condition of contractors equipment is a good indication that how professional he is and how well he will take care of you and your job.
Special Low Price
Special low price for a repair job is a great way to attract people. Some home renovation contractors will offer you a price that even you are not anticipating. Again, if something sounds too good to be true, it is mostly right. Such a lowest bidding contractor is either clueless of the job and its requirements or he is not willing to complete the job. Such type of contractors will not look carefully on the job and you should notice these minor details to avoid scammers.
Wow. Everybody wants to save money during their remodeling or repair projects and cheap materials are a great way to save money. Crooked contractors exploit this weakness of the homeowners and offer you leftover materials from a previous job at a low price, watch out. Small contractors rarely buy materials in great volumes and carry it with them. If they have materials from their previous job, it means that they have misjudged the required material for that job and it is a bad sign. So, never buy something from a person who comes to your home like this.
Limited Time Offers
Scam home renovation contractors have another trick in their sleeves, limited time offers for a job. They will offer you a price and attach it with a short time frame. It puts more pressure on the homeowner to react immediately and make a decision. Again a big red flag. Resist it. Take your time to research and ask for advice from friends and family. Never signs any paper in a hurry as it will bring headaches for you in the future.
2. Red Flags During the Job
A fake contractor’s shady behavior will become more evident once the job has started. Issues will start to happen. Homeowners think that they have signed a contract and things will be sorted out, but it never happens. So, if you see some of the following things, act immediately.
Material Prices have Gone Up
If your contractor comes to you and claims that the materials are costing more than he thought, stop him right away. There is some type of contracts which have flexibility for the price hikes, otherwise, the contractor has to manage it. If the concerns are genuine then you should initiate and sign off on a change order that can alter the scope of the work.
Stick to Your Contract
Unlicenced and fake home renovation contractors don’t follow the contract they have signed off. They always find ways to get more payments and compromise on quality. Sometimes, they ask payments to an earlier date to manage cash flow. Insist on sticking to the terms and conditions agreed upon. It is common mistakes that the contractors make, but it is their responsibility to manage it.
Some contractors decide on one material in the beginning and when the work starts, they change to subpar materials. If you notice such a change in the materials, immediately call the contractor. They can scam you by using 3/8-inch ply instead of 5/8-inch plywood, or a 2-inch layer of gravel instead of specified 4-inch layer. Always check the materials and quality of work and take notice of any wrongdoing.
Every contractor employs a number of subcontractors and suppliers. If you start receiving calls from the subcontractors and suppliers, confront your contractor. Make sure that before you issue your final payment to your contractor when you are fully satisfied with the final walk-through. When you make the final payment, the work is considered done. So, make a checklist of important things to figure out everything is completed as per your satisfaction.
3. Document Everything
Fake renovation contractors will try their best to avoid any written contract. They will try to convince you to believe in their verbal conversations. Never trust any verbal guarantee or agreement. Always keep everything from duration, payment schedule, and materials used in the job in writing. It will bound your contractor to fulfill his job and saves you from a lot of headaches in the future.
Qualified home renovation contractors play a vital role in your remodeling project. So, be very wise and do proper research when you are going to make the decision. You will face many crooked persons looking to scam you, however, look for red flags mentioned above to avoid becoming their next victim.