Prices that seem too good to be true, usually are too good to be true. Many homeowners have regretted their decision to act on a “great deal” that turned into a bad deal.
Do not buy from an unknown company selling door to door. Some contractors have well-rehearsed, door-to-door scams designed to quickly separate you from your money.
Resist the high-pressure sales technique. Some companies often offer “today only” incentives to encourage the homeowner to make a decision on the spot.
Many home service industries are seasonal. During the busy season, the better companies get backed up.
Moonlighting occurs when an enterprising and dishonest employee steals a customer from his or her employer. For example, an employee working for one company might come out to do an estimate but then offer to do the work for less money on non-company time.
A company’s sign in your neighbor’s yard does not mean your neighbor was satisfied with the company’s work. Multiple homeowners have reported hiring a company simply because a neighbor had previously hired the company.
One referral doesn’t always tell the whole story. Many homeowners have reported hiring companies because a neighbor or friend had recommended that company.
Always do your due diligence. Before hiring a company for a major project, such as remodeling, interview many of the company’s references.
Make sure you’re comparing companies equally. Some companies knowingly deliver low quality at a low price.
Insist on written, signed contracts. If a company representative or contractor claims his or her handshake is as good as a contract, it probably is not.
Protect your finances. Beware of scams and always assume the worst.
Poor or nonexistent credit is a bad sign. Some individuals or contractors request an account at a local store in the homeowner’s name to allow the contractor to charge the homeowner’s materials directly to this account.
Protect yourself and the contractor. If you help a contractor and the contractor gets injured, the contractor may be able to make a tort claim against you.
Contractors should arrive at a jobsite with their own equipment. Many homeowners have reported contractors and technicians who failed to bring the required tools with them.
Minimize risk from the beginning. Multiple homeowners reported thefts when unknown contractors, employees, or technicians were working in their homes.
Protect your home and your valuables. Never leave unknown workers alone in your home and never hide a key for an unknown worker.
Be wary of contractors who insist on cash. A few contractors and service providers demand cash payments or offer substantial discounts for cash payments to avoid bounced checks, garnished wages and Uncle Sam (although we have no direct proof of any company engaged in tax avoidance).
Know who you’re paying. Some unethical employees and/or unethical subcontractors steal from homeowners by convincing them to write checks directly to them or to a different company from the one the homeowner hired.
Protect your property. A lien is a claim made against a homeowner’s property by an individual or company that has supplied labor and has not been paid.