The warm weather of summer provides the perfect opportunity for you to take on those home improvement projects that weren’t suited for the cold months. It also provides bad contractors the opportunity to take advantage of the increased demand for work. Bigger, more reputable contractors may have been booked up well in advance, causing homeowners to seek out alternatives. Sometimes these alternatives are on the up and up, but other times they can be scammers who will take payments up front and won’t do any work on the project. Here’s how to tell the difference.
How To Watch Out for Bad Contractors
First things first, ask them if they’re licensed and insured. If they won’t give you this information, there’s no reason to go any further. If they do provide the information, verify it with the proper local agencies. You’ll also want to verify their address. If the address is not local or is unable to be found, this is another red flag. References are another important starting point. Lack of references is a reason for pause.
With regards to the contract itself, there are several tactics that scam contractors will use that you should look for. They may say you don’t need to sign a contract, but will ask you to pay up front. They may also ask you to sign a contract at a low price that they’ll only offer that day. A reputable contractor will never do this.
Contractors should also never ask you to make out a check to them directly. This is a sure sign that they’re looking to scam you. Similarly, never pay for work or materials in advance. Bad contractors may try to get you to pay for things you don’t need such as expensive extras, or they may try to get you to replace things that are fine as they are in order to bump up the total cost.
Overall, in addition to watching out for these practices, your gut is always a good indicator. If you feel like something’s off, there’s a good chance it is.
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