After years of what seemed like endless scrimping and belt-tightening, you realize that you have finally saved enough to make your home improvement dreams a reality. You put your design perspective on paper, plan your next steps carefully, and canvas for the most cost-effective and durable materials for your project. Then, there's only one last thing to do to get your project rolling, and that is to hire a contractor.
After speaking to some local contractors in your area, you have finally chosen one who you hope would be able to bring you the best results. The project starts and then the unthinkable happens. You start noticing some things about your contractor that make you uneasy and doubtful of his legitimacy. You want to validate your apprehensions but unsure as to how you should do it or where you should look. To help you decide whether to terminate the contract or seek for police assistance, I have listed down some tell-tale signs to determine if your contractor is a fraud.
No Documents to Show
Qualified contractors have licenses. It speaks of the person’s commitment to ensuring that he has all the qualifications, specialized skills, and experience required to complete a contracted job. While not all licensed contractors can guarantee quality work, unlicensed ones can guarantee poor work quality or no work at all. Most unlicensed contractors operate without a license for a lot of reasons -- from fear of failing examinations to previous legal violations to avoidance of state regulations. Whatever they may be, none of them will benefit you, so it is best that you stay away from contractors that will not be able to give you the assurance you need.
Legitimate and able contractors do not have to lie or make up stories to get a job. If a contractor has gone to great lengths to falsify documents, who knows what else he could do? The last thing you want to happen is a house in progress, and get a burglarized house instead.
Refuses to Give a Contract
A contract protects keeps you and your contractor safe from fulfilling any stipulations, responsibilities, or costs beyond what were stated in the contract. It seals in the deal and protects both parties in case of disputes or any form of misunderstanding. Contractors who do not want to present a contract or sign one is not worthy of your trust, time, and money.
Asks for a Hefty Lumpsum Payment
Contractors need to purchase materials to start the remodeling project, so an upfront payment is necessary. However, if your contractor is asking for more than 33% of the contract price and rushes you into producing the money, then that should serve as a warning for you. Licensed contractors should have enough funds to pay for upfront costs since they usually have credit and financing support. Not having enough funds could mean that their credit had been revoked or that they failed to deliver their previous jobs successfully. You should also note that additional deposits are usually given after a certain percentage of work has been successfully delivered. Do not let anyone fool you into giving more than what was agreed in the contract.
Buys Substandard Materials/Insists on Cutting Work Hours Short
Monitor your contractor’s purchases and make sure that he buys the materials you have specified and agreed on in the contract. If he insists on cheaper alternatives, it might be that he is using the fund you provided to remodel someone else’s house, or his own, perhaps. If you agreed on a certain number of work hours per day, they should be able to deliver this. If they insist on cheaper alternatives or lesser hours, then you should also require a price cut, which should be amended in the contract. Cutting on costs and work hours indicate that your contractor is not committed to providing you with the best results that you are expecting for them to deliver.
About the Author: Marie Christine Umali is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast working for Kitchen Cabinet Kings, a leading online distributor of discount bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Find high quality birch, maple and oak kitchen wholesale cabinets at Kitchen Cabinet Kings and get the best value for your money. Free shipping is offered for orders worth $3000 and up.