Wednesday, April 13, 2011

9 Ways Avoid to Disreputable Contractors

A carpenter at the TVA's new Douglas dam on th...Image by The Library of Congress via FlickrI have been getting some estimates to change out my windows. They are 35 years old and it's time to upgrade. The new windows today, not only save on energy costs but are are impact resistant. So the need for shutters during a hurricane isn't a worry anymore.

Whenever you have work done of this nature done it will be of great benefit to qualify the company that does it. I recommend doing a thorough checking out of the company and meeting the people who will actually be doing the work. Some of my readers know of my special relationship with building contractors. I am one and I am well aware of how they can be very good in their job and how they can be very bad. So it is very important to check out their credentials and past work.

Seek Referrals. It's best to get it from the horse's mouth. Stop by remodeling jobs that are in progress and talk to the homeowner. Ask if they are happy with the way the job is going. Is the work being done in a timely fashion? Is the crew doing a god job? How is the price? You will know right away if the homeowner likes the work. They will be forth right with a good or bad review.

Check Credentials. Call your local BBB and find out how long a company has been in business. Google the name of the company and it's owner, you will find if there are any problems or lawsuits. Contact any state licensing boards for any consumer complaints.

Seek Referrals. Talk to any friends or family who have done any similar kinds of work. Call your local building department to check if there are any complaints or if they make recommendations.

Ask For Insurance. Ask your contractor to produce documentation of liability insurance and proof of workmen's compensation. See that all paper work is up to date.

Subcontractors. Ask your contractor if they will actually be doing the work or will be sub-contracting the work out. If so check out the subcontractor thoroughly.

Everything must be in writing. Be sure all agreements are put in writing. Ask how work change orders are to be handled. Be sure start and finish dates are in writing. Also payment schedules and detailed description of the work to be done.

Understand what your signing. If your contract has to much small print and is costly maybe a lawyer should check out the contract to see if you are not being taken.

Paying upfront. Don't pay to much upfront. A small deposit may be required but always pay after work is done or on a beneficial for you schedule.

Never Pay in Cash. Use a credit card or write checks so you always have proof of payment.
Contracting work on your home can be a pleasant experience if you take it slow and find the best contractor.


  1. Paying with a credit card and not cash seems to be a good advice.

  2. Unfortunately, all these cross checks oftentimes will not be enough to protect you. I'm of the thinking that there are more disreputable contractors than there are reputable ones.

    I recently watched what happened to a family friend when dealing with a Seattle remodeling CON-tractor. They checked references, saw his work, licensed/bonded/insured all checked out. In the end, the guy did not deliver a quality project and actually walked off the job when it became evident he was unwilling to fix his horrible workmanship. In the end, they went to court and this guy got his subcontractors to lie right along with him... blaming the homeowner for everything that went wrong. Really amazing.

    So watch out folks. And watch out for companies like Mazall Build who boast about workmanship and experience, but possess neither.

    And always have a lawyer review your contracts before you sign. You could easily be signing a questionable document. It's worth it to spend a couple hundred bucks to ensure the contract you sign protects you as well.

    1. When your dealing with a large expenditure like remodeling your probably spending $10,000 dollars or more. You may be even borrowing the money on a home equity loan. There is a lot at stake. You should be taking your time and doing it right by following my list in the post.


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