Showing posts with label frugal fixing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal fixing. Show all posts

Be Smart and Avoid Contractor Scams

 
Spring cleaning means a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Inside chores such as cleaning out the basement, attic, or garage are generally easier for the homeowner and family members to do themselves. This is also the case with most yard clean up and a number of other odd jobs around the premises.

However, when it comes to fixing part of the roof, windows, or other damages incurred during the wintry months most of us feel the need to put our trust in a hired professional.

It's here that things can get tricky because of all the great contractors out there a few good scam artists know how to work the field ripping off a lot of innocent customers with schemes and offers too good to be true. Yes, being frugal is admirable but taking unnecessary financial risks isn't.

That's why when it comes to spending your hard earned cash don't underestimate the power of the customer over a convincing sales pitch and your right to say no.

In order to fully appreciate how easy it is to get caught up in great deals consider the following red flags when handling contractors:

1.      Did you find them or did they find you? If a contractor knocked on your door because he was in the neighborhood on another job or had some left over supplies from another job and 'noticed' you needed a similar repair be careful.

2.      Request references and to see their license and insurance documents. If they refuse or don't have an official office it's a big question mark.

3.      Don't be rushed into making a decision. If they won't let you take your time and say the price is only good for a day or two it's probably a scam. Check them out, get a second opinion, and don't worry about losing the deal of the century.

4.      Be suspicious if they want to come inside and inspect your home for pressing repairs because they will always find something. If you do let them in never leave them alone in a particular room and never agree to anything on the spot.
  
5.      Be suspicious if they don't want to sign a contract.

6.      Be suspicious if they want the entire payment up front. 

7.      Be suspicious if they want cash only. Always pay with a check to document the deal.

8.      Be suspicious if extra expenses come up in the middle of a job outside of the quote and what's written in the contract. If they made a mistake or misquoted its up to them to take the hit, not the customer. Sometimes hidden expenses arise but hopefully by then you've done your homework and have a certain level of trust.

9.      Be suspicious if they won't let you take pictures of the job. They don't have to be in the shot themselves but photos are a good way to document each stage in case of a problem down the road.

10.  Be suspicious if you have elderly parents or friends living alone and a contractor approaches them about doing work. Seniors are easy targets who can't always verify things in hard to reach places and will rely on others. Make sure they don't agree to anything without running it by you first.

Jakob Barry writes for www.Networx.com a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects together. He covers various home improvement topics including green gardening tips and general contracting.