Most contractors are hardworking professionals, but a few bad apples can cause problems for a lot of people. “He seemed legit” is what most homeowners say after they realize they have gone with the wrong contractor and have been scammed or they are stuck with a poorly done job. It’s good to protect yourself and know the type of contractor scams you need to watch out for.
We need the money upfront
This is the most common scam of all. The contractor asks for upfront payment either partial or full before they commence any work. The contractor can disappear with your hard earned money or do the job half-heartedly because they know you can’t fire them because they are sitting on your money. You can pay a small portion upfront and that’s normal, but it should be done according to the milestones indicated in the contract.
Take my word for it
When you met the contractor for the first time, he was so agreeable, understanding and polite about what you wanted.
Things can get complicated quickly though when certain things you expected to be done don’t get done. Or they are done in a way you did not expect or want.
It can be problematic to make a verbal agreement or come to a cordial understanding with contractors.
Insist on having everything writing beforehand so you are both sure of what services are expected and how much it will cost.
It may be best to pay as you go after certain milestones indicated in the contract are reached.
We ran into unforeseen problems
This happens when the job is underway and some new problem is discovered. Suddenly the contractor tells you that the agreed-upon price has risen. He blames it on structural or some other problems discovered during construction. There are additional fees that are legit, but some contractors bid for jobs only to get the job and hike up the price later. If you aren’t sure about the structural or other problems, you can get a home inspector or another contractor to give you an impartial second opinion.
I have materials I can sell you cheap
This can be a hoax, and you may want to run away if approached by a stranger with this offer. The trick is run by companies whose materials most likely can’t be returned to the supplier. They have left over products, and the crew will give you “amazing prices” to resurface your driveway on the spot. You aren’t sure who they are and taking them on up on this offer is risky. It seems like a bargain, but you don’t know where you can find them if the driveway starts cracking.
Never hire a contractor on the spot without doing some research. Take your time and check the contractor out to see if they do quality work and they have a good reputation.