You’ve probably heard the horror story of a neighbor or friend who hired a basement repair contractor who turned out to be a scammer. Like every good guy, you felt sorry for them and told yourself you’re never going to fall for a scammer. Big mistake! You can easily fall for the smooth-talking contractor because they look competent and agreeable.
Here’s how you can tell the good guys from the bad ones.
No homeowner sets out to hire a bad contractor, but it happens almost every day. Here’s how you can identify the bad apples before you commission any basement repair work:
Scam 1: You Have My Word
When you meet up with your contractor for the first time, they’ll tell you how they’re going to do everything according to your specifications, and even suggest some nice touches and extras. Some of the suggestions won’t feature in the contract. You may overlook the need to put it down on paper since you have a verbal agreement. Soon enough, you will realize no extras were added.
When you inquire from the contractor, they’ll tell you they didn’t include the extras in the price. In short, you’ll have to accept the job or cough up more money for a redo.
Scam 2: Asks for a Huge Down Payment
If someone asks for more than 50 percent so they can start your project, that’s a red flag. A good contractor should have enough funds to pay for the up-front costs. Anyone who asks for substantial payment upfront before repairs commence has probably messed their credit. That’s not a contractor you should take seriously.
Scam 3: Dismisses Your Genuine Concerns
“There’s no problem with that” may seem like a reassuring statement, but when you have genuine concerns or pressing questions and the answers are less than satisfactory, it should make you rethink your choice of contractor. Don’t work with anyone who dismisses your concerns or doesn’t pay attention to what you’re saying.
Scam 4: Ask for Amenities That Never Get Installed
Rogue contractors will often ask for amenities they won’t install. And if they do, they will install them badly, then come back and redo the installation and charge you again. Before you hire a contractor, find out why a fixture or amenity is required and its cost. If possible, try to get the opinion of a second contractor regarding the same.
Scam 5: The Contract is Vague
An unprofessional contractor will keep things short and sweet. They’ll leave out key details, such as the scope of the project and timelines (start date and end date). So you can’t tell what they’re supposed to do exactly and when the project ends.
Scam 6: No Verifiable Physical Address
When you look up the name of the contractor in Google Places or your local contractor directory, you realize they have no office. That’s a red flag. The same applies to contractors who operate from the back of unbranded vans.
Scam 7: No Referrals
Many people rely on word of mouth or recommendations when scouting for contractors. Any contractor worth his salt should have customers who can vouch for their basement service.
Note: Frauds usually crop up after catastrophic weather and calamities in Missouri when homeowners are desperate for their services.
When you’re looking for a basement repair contractor in Missouri, you want to be sure you’re hiring the right people for the job. Choosing the right basement contractor means fast delivery, professional work and no legal tussles. Here is how to tell a contractor is genuine:
1) Valid License
Every genuine contractor should have a license from their municipality. As well as indicating their license number, the certificate shows they have valid insurance and highlights some of their successful projects. You will see the certificate in their office or a scanned copy on their website.
2) Proper Insurance
Sometimes, things can go wrong at your home. A contractor could damage your property, or a member of the staff could suffer bodily harm. Whatever the problem, you don’t want to be held liable for the mistakes or inefficiencies of the contractor. A genuine contractor will show you their certificate of insurance.
3) High Ratings from Consumers
If you see a contractor has positive reviews and ratings on their website, Google, Yelp or BBB, that’s a sign customers are pleased or satisfied with the basement repairs.
4) Warranty Offers
Trustworthy contractors will offer you a labor warranty for basement work and installations. If their installation doesn’t last or repairs fall apart, they will come and redo the work.
5) Detailed Contract
A professional contractor will spell out everything in black and white. From the costs to payments to items, you will have an understanding of what’s required and their terms as well as the scope of the project.