4 Red Flags That Signal a Sketchy Contractor
Updated: Apr 25, 2019
You want a contractor who is trustworthy, skilled, and hardworking to perform repairs on your property or install new features. Many contractors get into this business because they are talented at their profession and want to help people who might not know how to fix a plumbing issue or install window insulation. Some contractors, though, aren’t as credible as others. All industries have their share of bad businesses, but these contractors are known to scam property owners out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for repairs they don’t need. These contractors may be unresponsive to calls or emails, and the repairs and installations they’ve made might fall apart within days.
How can you stay safe when hiring a contractor? These four red flags are signs that your contractor might be sketchy – and you should find someone else.
1. Aversion to Contracts
Never trust a contractor who doesn’t offer you a contract or refuses to sign one. A sketchy contractor likes to make verbal agreements and promises, because these agreements aren’t legally binding. Contracts are legally binding, so scammers know they won’t be able to get away with price-hiking or poor construction practices without facing legal action. Always make sure your contractor signs a contract.
2. Significantly Lower Prices Than Competitors
A cheap contractor doesn’t always mean he or she provides the best value. If a contractor offers you a significantly lower price than competitors, he or she may be using cheap materials, cutting corners, or tacking on unexpected surcharges after the initial consultation.
Cheap materials and lazy installation practices mean the repair or installation will need more repairs. Save yourself time and money by hiring a contractor who offers services at a rate like competitors.
3. Poor Communication Skills
Contractors should be prompt and professional in all communications. If a contractor refuses to meet in person and only takes phone calls, it's a sign he or she is not qualified to perform the job – the project needs to be seen to be properly priced.
If a contractor avoids or refuses to answer your questions, it is a sign he or she doesn’t have the technical knowledge necessary to perform the job. A contractor who is consistently late to meetings or appointments signals a person who lacks proper time-management skills. Your project might not finish on time, because many contractors charge by the hour.
4. Up-Front Payments
Some major repairs and installations are pricey and will take a long time to complete. It is common for a contractor to accept a down payment along with payment installations while the project is ongoing.
Find a new contractor if yours refuses to accept a down payment or create a payment plan and demands upfront payment. Paying everything upfront is extremely risky – it is very easy for a contractor to take your money and run. Always ask for a down payment option or pay a portion of the money upfront, saving the rest of the payment until the job is complete.
Home365’s property management only works with top professionals in your area to have all your maintenance needs met in a timely, affordable, and efficient manner.
Learn more about Home365’s OneRate plan.