Exercise caution when hiring a contractor for home projects
When you’ve finally decided to embark on a home project, it’s human nature to want to get it done as soon as possible. And, because you’re in a hurry and don’t take time to check out contractors at bbb.org before doing business with them, you could fall victim to unreliable contractors trying to make a fast buck.
BBB advises being especially guarded when contractors, many from out-of-state, start soliciting work door to door after hailstorms that damage roofs, siding and windows. Some of these traveling contractors are here today, gone tomorrow with no avenue for follow-up if the project fails to deliver.
Another ruse shady contractors use is to knock at your door to say they just finished a job down the street and have leftover materials they can use to fix your fence or pave your driveway. Legitimate contractors, however, are very careful about ordering just the right amount of materials needed for any given job.
To ensure you get your project finished — and finished to your liking — your BBB offers these tips on how to recognize red flags when dealing with contractors:
• The contractor knocks at your door to offer his/her services — roofing, asphalt paving, painting, etc. — at a screaming deal good that day only. Trustworthy businesses give you time to do your research before committing to a contract.
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• The contractor asks that you acquire the building permit. Reliable contractors — those that are properly bonded and insured — are responsible for getting any required permits.
• The contractor strongly suggests you use his preferred lender. If you need to take out a loan to pay for the project, research lenders (find a list of BBB Accredited Businesses at bbb.org) and interest fees and choose the one that best suits your personal situation.
• The contractor asks that he be paid in cash up front. BBB advises using the rule of thirds — one-third up front, one-third midway through the project and the one-third upon successful completion of the project. Pay with a credit card or check and never with cash.
For more tips and information about spring home and garden projects and companies, visit BBB’s Home Project Planner at go.bbb.org/1A97u28.
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