How to Prevent Home Repair Contractor ScamsBy Child Safety Specialist May 03, 2012 | 12:00 PMPosted in: Family, Home
For me, home repair contractors and handymen rank right up there with used car sales people in terms of trying to rip you off. They assume you don’t know anything and they can either get away with poor workmanship or upsell you on a bunch of needless work by scaring you.
Granted I’m speaking in general terms here and I know that there are a lot of reputable and professional home improvement contractors out there but buyers beware! Be informed and do your homework with these safety tips:
-Check their contractor’s license number with the state. Just because they give you a number does not mean it is legit! If they are subbing to an electrician or plumber, be sure to get a hard copy of their license and insurance as well.
-Google the home repair company as well as their name. You may be amazed at what comes up.
-Get referrals and ask for pictures of completed work.
-Understand what sort of warranty they offer, how long it extends and what it covers.
-Are the workers employees of the company or day laborers?
-Read the contract and reread the contract and then reread it. Make sure everything is in there! You do not want to be hit for extras like dumpster removal.
-All changes to the original home improvement contract must be in a change addendum. If you change something that will alter the price of scope of work, get it in writing – no verbal agreements.
-Make them clean up every day! Nothing is worse than a dirty area with nails and their empty water bottles left.
-Check the supplies they are using. If you requested a non-oil poly (which is a much safe but more expensive option), be sure to check the cans they are using. Check the brands as well.
-When electrical is done, demand that the licensed electrician QCs all work. Chances are one of their employees did most of the work, and many times they are not the one that holds the license.
-Do not leave any valuables laying around. Chances are you are going to have an unlocked door to allow access during the day so it is not only the workers you need to be cautious of.
-Be nice to the workers. An offer of beverages and snacks go along way. It is amazing how many people do not extend an offer.
-Lock all doors that were used for access at the end of each day.
Above all, you need to manage the home repair or home improvement project. Yes, it is the contractors “job” but, you have to manage them. Check all work at the end of day. Note what is not up to your satisfaction and put in writing. Do not wait until the walls are closed up to say you wanted the light switch in a different position.
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