Warnings Signs You’re Getting Scammed by Your Contractor

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contractor showing plan to owner

Any construction or renovation project is a critical endeavor for homeowners and one that should be taken seriously. We want to hire the best and the most reputable contractors and designers to ensure we get everything right from the start.

Contractors and skilled workers arm themselves with experience and the right licenses to gain access to construction sites. One example is the construction skills certification scheme tests, which certifies the worker’s experience and qualifications to carry out their jobs.

This is why hiring contractors for commercial and residential construction is tough, with many scam artists disguising themselves as licensed contractors. Considering the time, money, and effort on the line, choosing someone skilled and reliable enough to accomplish the job is necessary.

You may have heard stories about bad contractors who ended up deceiving property owners and caused a lot of financial and construction damage in the process. In this case, it’s important to be aware of the “red flags” when hiring a contractor for your construction project. These warning signs will help you detect potential troubles and avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

A vague or lack of contract

Hiring a contractor should always — always — come with a contract. It’s that simple. In times of any legal issue, documentation is your most treasured weapon. So why work with one who provides services with no contract?

While this is the first and most important step to hiring a contractor, many clients are skipping this most important part. They get very excited about the new construction work that they forget about the contract itself. This happens if you’re speaking with the contractor, whether in-person or by phone, and you get so overwhelmed with questions and information being fed to you.

When working with a contractor, make sure to get everything in writing. The contractor should prepare and present it to you. A bad contractor may argue that the contract will box both of you in and other reasons they can fabricate. If this happens, look for another contractor immediately.

A contract is a legally binding document, which means all parties involved should obey the terms written on it. A contract should include project details and guidelines stating the scope of work, project description, equipment and materials to be used, persons involved, start date, date of completion, and protocols. A good contract must also include the budget, payment schedule, and a clear estimate of the labour and materials.

Foregoing a contract is tempting, but it comes with imminent risks. If you think it’s tedious to document everything, know that dealing with a financial mess is far more costly and cumbersome.

Low ball rates

If you’re bidding for a project across several contractors, you’re likely to receive dozens of quotes back. Among these quotes, you’re probably looking for the cheapest or closest to your budget. We all love a good deal, but if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Unqualified and unlicensed contractors take advantage of clients with exceptionally low bids to get your attention, then ask for additional charges that will drive up the cost. There will be times when prices change because of the increases in material cost and general rate. But it’s a different matter if the contractor is suddenly asking for money. This is what you call a short-timeframe sales tactic.

Another reason others offer low ball rates is to cut costs on certain parts of the project. They may not be using quality materials for the project or hiring workers with little to no skills in construction. Whatever their modus is, save yourself from the hassle and find a contractor who offers standard pricing with complete details of the construction cost.

Inability to verify references

Most people have a habit of believing that all contractors are decent, professional, and licensed. The truth is, the construction industry is filled with scammers who know nothing but steal people’s money for their filthy modus.

Hiring a contractor is something you should never take lightly. Don’t be afraid to ask about their references, experience, and portfolio. Following this step will give you a better perspective about the contractor’s quality of work. But don’t just ask for their information; make sure to fact-check each detail with their firm and previous clients.

Knowing if you hired a reliable contractor can be tricky. A great way to start is to find out about the “red flags” to stay informed and avoid getting scammed in the process. Remember, your home is your most valuable investment, so everything must be taken very seriously. Every person you hire should meet all the standards for integrity and reliability.


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