10 Tips to Prevent Home Contractor Fraud
Avoid Contractor Fraud; Find the right home contractor for you.
Whether it’s home repairs, remodeling, pool installation, landscaping, fencing, etc., it’s important to find the right home contractor for you and for the specific job. Selecting the right person for the job means choosing someone who is reliable.
Home contractor fraud happens! Use these 10 tips to help you find a quality home repair company.
- Know what you want. Have a basic understanding of what you are hiring the contractor to do. Then, you can look for home contractors who specialize in the types of repairs you need.
- Ask people you trust. Use your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to help you find a reliable contractor. Ideally, they’ll recommend someone who has already completed work for them.
- Keep it local. If you work with a local business, you can be sure they have a location, phone number and contact person nearby in case something should happen during the project.
- Ask for references. Inquire about recently completed projects and ask to visit one of their worksites.
- Ensure their credibility. Request to see appropriate certificates and permits and check your Better Business Bureau (BBB) for their rating or any complaints they may have received. Search the contractor and company name on Yahoo or Google.
- Use multiple resources. Many websites help you locate licensed home contractors.
- Verify they’re insured. Ask for proof of insurance. Look for both Worker’s Compensation and Errors and Omissions coverage. If your home contractor does not have adequate insurance, contact your insurance company to find out if you can add a “rider” to your insurance coverage (an amendment to your insurance policy for additional coverage in the event of an emergency).
- Get written copies. Request the cost of work and the cost of materials as well as the project timeline in writing. Get copies of receipts, too.
- Know their schedule. How much time will be spent on your project? When will it be completed? Be wary if your home contractor has multiple other ongoing projects. Too many and they may not be able to devote enough time and energy to yours. Find out who will be at your home on a daily basis and how you can contact them with questions.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY- It’s okay if the contractor asks for a small down payment for supplies. However, do not pay for the upfront supplies until they are delivered to your site. Paying in full or paying for work up front is a risk! Obtain the contract before making a payment and carefully review it before signing. The safest payment methods are a credit card or a bank check.
Michael Sayles Robert Drake
City Manager Police Chief