In this week’s blog post, we are going to discuss some common scams bad contractors use to rip-off home owners and teach you red flags to look out for.
Beware These Common Contractor Scams
Just as there is in any other industry, the home improvement sector has its fair share of nefarious ne’er-do-wells who would rather take a short cut and scam you out of hundreds – or sometimes thousands – of your hard-earned dollars. Fortunately, these bad contractors often follow similar patterns and, as such, there are some definite red flags you can look out for to avoid common home remodeling scams.
Bad Contractor Scam: We Were In the Neighborhood
One of the most common bad contractor scams we hear about is the “We Were In the Neighborhood” scheme. The way this con works is that a supposed handyman knocks on your door or catches you outside and approaches you, letting you know that they just happen to be doing some work in your neighborhood and noticed that your house needed some work, too. The work tends to vary, but typically it involves repaving your driveway or repairing your roof.
Real contractors never use this approach. They rely on legitimate resources for prospects, such as referrals, advertising or Internet Marketing, and would never randomly knock on someone’s door seeking business.
If a “contractor” knocks on your door unexpectedly, send them packing, and post haste. The quicker the better in fact, as another part of this scam can entail a second party sneaking into your back yard while you are distracted to steal things. Or a conman may be trying to get a peek into your home to see if there is anything worth stealing later.
Bad Contractor Scam: Special Discount for Today Only
Another favorite bad contractor scam is the “Special Discount” ploy. This scenario happens all the time: a handyman comes over to give you a quote and happily informs you that if you commit to the job today, you will get a special discount or coupon, saving you a lot of money. However, if they walk out the door and you haven’t committed, they cannot lock in that “special” price.
This is obviously a scam. Real contractors give you a quote and stick to it, so long as the scope of the work does not change. They do not rush you into a decision, promising that you will save money, because they know the importance of your home as an investment and residence. In addition, a real contractor or design/build firm values their own work and takes pride in it – offering a deep discount means that they were probably overcharging to begin with or cannot support their business. Either way, steer clear of this type of offer. Any money you would “save” would only end up costing you in the future, thanks to shoddy craftsmanship and work.
Bad Contractor Scam: Pay Me Now
Our final scam should be an obvious one, but unfortunately thousands of homeowners fall for it each and every year – the “Pay Me Now” ploy. In this scenario, a contractor will meet with you, discuss your project, give you a quote and then ask for half of the money up front or, even worse, all of the money before they start the job. This is a huge no-no. Odds are, if you pay this bad contractor any money, you will never see them again. Send them packing straight away!