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CT Home Improvement: 3 Major Contractor Scams to Avoid

By Blue Corona Dev Aug 25, 2014

When looking around for a CT home improvement contractor, it is important to know what to look for so you know you are hiring someone who will go above and beyond to perform the job right the first time. Previously, we have told you what to look for in a trustworthy contractor, but what are some red flags that you should keep an eye out for. There are some common phrases and tricks that signal a contractor who is trying to take the easy route, so be sure to be on the look out for them!

Contract Tips

  • A construction contract should always include the following pieces of information: the contractor’s name, address, and phone number, estimated start and completion dates, a description of the work, the total project price, and the payment schedule.
  • The payment schedule is crucial. Avoid hiring a contractor who insists on being paid upfront or being paid in cash. Paying upfront or paying with cash makes it much harder to recoup your losses in the event of fraud.
  • Never sign a contract that you do not understand. Also avoid contracts that have blank spaces that could be filled in with type after you sign.

Additional Fees & Jacked Up Prices

The job is already under way, perhaps even complete, when this one hits. Suddenly your contractor informs you that the agreed-upon price has skyrocketed. He blames the discovery of structural problems, like a missing beam or termite damage, or design changes that you made after the job began.

The additional fees might very well be legit, but some unscrupulous contractors bid jobs low to get the work and then find excuses to jack up the price later. If you’re unsure whether your contractor is telling the truth about structural problems, you can get an impartial opinion from a home inspector, the local branch of the National Association of Home Builders, or even your local building department.

How to protect yourself: Before signing the contract, make sure it includes a procedure for change orders ‘ mini-contracts containing a work description and a fixed price for anything that gets added to the job in progress. The extra work, whether it’s related to unforeseen building issues or homeowner whims, can proceed only after the change order is signed by both homeowner and contractor.

‘In the Neighborhood’ Excuses

“I’ve just resurfaced your neighbor’s driveway and I’ve got materials left over to do yours. Looks like it needs work soon. I’ll give you a really good deal.”

This and other “we’re in the neighborhood” lines are a warning. First, a legitimate contractor does not overbuy materials for a job and expect to unload them on the job site’s neighbor. Second, a legitimate contractor will not take on a job from the perspective of getting rid of excess materials. He or she will assess each job based upon its individual needs.

It may be legitimate for the contractor to contact you “since we’re in the neighborhood.” If that is the case, then you’ll want to speak to your neighbors to find out the quality of the work. You’ll likely not want to plunge in at that very moment, in any event.

Under the Table Deals

“I can give you a good deal for cash.”

Under the table cash deals usually mean that the contractor is not paying taxes, and therefore can cut his or her price. The catch is that you will have no paper record of the work — no receipt and no written guarantee. If a problem occurs, you’ll have no recourse. Legitimate contractors do not indulge in this kind of practice.

If a ct contractor asks for all the money upfront, run. It’s important to discuss a payment schedule with the contractor before the work starts, and put the timeline in a written contract and estimate. Reputable contractors will not request more than 10-15% of the job’s total upfront, usually around $1,000. The rest will be scheduled in payments as the job progresses. If possible, pay by credit cards as opposed to cash or checks so that the charges can be disputed if necessary. Dishonest contractors will try to counter this argument by saying they need the money to pay their suppliers first, but honest contractors have suppliers that will provide them with equipment on their good credit.

Fiderio & Sons

While these seem like scary occurrences that occur all-to-often, we want to say that most contracting companies are responsible and trustworthy, and we are only trying to protect you from the few dishonest ones out there. So don’t fret, let Fiderio & Sons prove we are one of the best roofing and home improvement companies ct out there! Visit our showroom in Meriden and as always, don’t forget to click below for a FREE consultation and a $250 off our estimated price!

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