Hiring someone to work on your home can be a stressful because you know that the quality of the work will have a lot to do with the person who performs it. For this reason you tend to do everything you can to find someone who is certified and who seems to have a work history you can trust, but there is still one catch. Oftentimes the contractor you choose is a stranger initially, so how do you avoid bad contractors who at least look good on paper? Here are some ways to tell when a contractor is a bad idea even if he or she looks stellar in theory.
Really Low Bid Prices
While this may seem like an advantage to you, if the quote you get is so much lower than the others it may be a problem in the long run. Either the contract doesn’t understand the scope of the work or you are going to be dealing with extra costs after the work starts. Either way, you will end up paying more.
Refusal to Sign Contracts
Bad contractors tend to have a problem with a paper trail, especially one that is legally binding. This can be a way of covering themselves if something goes wrong. It can also be that they have something to hide and would rather not put their names to anything.
Use of Pressure Tactics
Ever had a sales person paint you a really scary picture to hurry you into buying something? Or worse, ever had someone try to rush you to buy something as though you were taking up too much of their time? Contractors who use pressure tactics to try to get you to cut time, spend more money or buy more material generally are bad contractors so always look out for this tendency before you start.
Demanding Payment Upfront
Never make full payment or sign anything to say the job is complete until you are satisfied with the work. Besides your satisfaction you also want to make sure that it passes inspection and that you get proof that you have made all payments. The proof of payment is especially useful since anyone who is not paid by your contractor can put a lien on your house to demand compensation. Unfortunately, if that contractor is nowhere to be found and you have no proof that you paid you may end up paying twice.
If you do not trust the provided references or none are provided during your selection then you are more than likely dealing with bad contractors. Questionable references may mean the contractor is making things up. Even worse, no references suggest that he or she cannot trust past customers to vouch for the work done which is never a good thing.
Note also that while they may not seem logical to someone who only believes in what can be quantified, your guts often have the ability to steer you away from bad contractors or trouble in general. Consider this, you wouldn’t buy a car if you felt uncomfortable with it. Therefore, why hire someone to work on your house if the person makes you uneasy?