It’s rare in the construction industry to find an honest contractor, it’s similar to auto mechanics that’s it’s rare to find an honest auto mechanic. It’s an industry that’s plagued with people who worked as employees in the industry doing work in peoples home working for another company and then decided to go out on their own with no experience running a business and feel they need to be dishonest to make a living. I sometimes feel very bad for these contractors as in many ways they do not know any better, it was passed down by bosses before and they believe “it’s always been done this way” mentality.
What I see that I believe are the issues is purposely leaving information out of estimates knowing that when the work is done they can ask for more money for certain items that were not part of the original scope of work is common and makes you the homeowner feel taken advantage of as you want to get the work done but now you budget continues to change throughout the job. Typically as a homeowner you picked this person in some regard based on price, maybe not all about price but it played a part in your overall decision. You may have gotten an estimate for $5000 for a job you were looking to have done, you thought the job is going to be $5000 but then in the middle of the job something is brought to your attention that you assumed was included in the price but now it’s going to be $1000 more than you anticipated, knowing you had other estimates with other companies that may have been $1000 more that you maybe liked more and now you’re working with someone that’s coming in at the same price and you’re not as happy with them.
Another thing I see often is starting a job let’s say that’s supposed to take a total of one full week of work, 40 hours approx. The job starts on Monday and you have given a deposit for the work and given another payment as the job has started. The work continues for a few days and by Thursday you realize the contractor is showing up less and less or not working full days and the project starts to stall out and not continue at the same speed. This typically occurs when the contractor does not have enough money to finish the job and is out looking for more work and starting other jobs to get deposits and first payments, this is an ongoing issue and every customer deals with what you’re dealing with as well, the job ends up taking 2-3 weeks worth of work instead of 1 week, you assume this is normal as maybe you have dealt with this previously with other contractors as it’s very common.
One of the worst, but not quite the worst is when a job is 95% done and it’s almost to the finish line and you have paid almost the entire job in full at this point and you’re just waiting on a few punch list type of items to be done and all the sudden you’re ghosted and you cannot get in touch with the person who has been working in your home now for weeks. You’re calling, texting, emailing, etc to get in touch with this person and you get nothing back and they’re gone at this point forever. This is unfortunately very common and it’s a money thing with the contractor, they were low on funds and needed to start a new job to get the bank account back up and finishing your job was not going to pay their bills that they needed to pay at that time so in their mind it’s easier to walk away and start on something else.
In my opinion the by far worst thing I see is stolen deposits, doing an estimate and you deciding to work with this person and they ask you for some type of deposit typically 25%-50% of the total job price and once the check clears or cash is given you will never hear from them again, they walk away with your money.
What can you do to ensure these situations do not happen to you,
- Do your research on who you want to hire especially when the overall price is more than $5000 in total. Look at reviews on google, it’s more honest than most other sites. If they do not have a google page in 2023 or beyond that’s a red flag, seriously it’s Google.
- Pay Attention to the details in reviews, pictures on their website, etc. If things seem to good to be true they most likely are. Nobody is perfect, 5 stars with 100’s of reviews is a red flag
- Ask for references, introductions to other homeowners they have worked with
- Ask for insurances, you want to see the COI (certificate of insurance) for liability, workers comp, etc and you want a copy of it
- NEVER PAY WITH CASH – it’s 2023, credit, ACH or check is the only way to pay but most companies should not even offer to accept cash as a form of payment. You have ZERO recourse if you pay with cash
- Discounted until you accept, this is a red flag. Every contractor needs to make money, they’re running a business. If they’re willing to severely discount the job either they’re planning to run the job at a loss (who would ever do that) OR more likely is they overcharged the original estimate by A LOT so they can afford to offer a discount to make it look like you’re getting a deal.
Visit www.honest-contractor.com OR www.mostcontractorssuck.com OR www.atozfamilybusiness.com to start to learn why we’re different and we’re honest from the beginning and we have found honestly and having integrity is something that truly allows us to stand apart from our competitors.