A recent conversation with our friends Matt and John King from Kingsgate Construction inspired us to speak out about various ways you can reduce your risk when hiring a contractor. There are SO MANY horror stories of people being drained of their life savings by contractors who never show up, don’t finish their work or do a terrible job that needs repair and we don’t want you to get stuck in that position.
THE DEPOSIT SCAM
This is the BIG ONE –contractors requesting substantial deposits upfront before any work has been completed. This is a BIG red flag and you need to investigate further. Small contractors may not have the cash reserves or credit to purchase materials and front the money for labour so there are exceptions but, if this is the case, you are doing them a favour by helping them grow their company so they should also be accommodating in finding creative ways to go about payment. Perhaps you can go with them to the hardware store to pick up materials and pay the store on your credit card directly (a few extra Airmiles would be nice!), perhaps you reimburse them once the materials arrive at the job site and you can verify delivery.
Whether working with a large company or a small company, a strict payment structure should be agreed upon prior to any work completed. An example would be providing periodic payments such as 20% of the total, one-week into a 5-week job, etc. Figure out a plan that works and make sure everyone sticks to their part of the contact, that means the contractor provides the work they’re hired to do and you pay on-time.
References are always a great idea to source out but getting creative and finding references other than the ones your contractor provides is a good idea. See if you can get in touch with their clients on job sites they’re actively working on, knock on doors and meet people in person.
REVIEWS AND RESEARCH
The internet is a wonderful thing. Go to Google, type in the company name and see what comes up! Sweet and simple. Check out their Google reviews, Houzz ratings, Facebook recommendations, etc.
The one challenge you will find is that most trades are a form of art, laying brick, plastering drywall, painting and carpentry take skill. Not everyone can do a great job and those who can do a great job may not be good on the business side. And, pretty well consistently, you do get what you pay for.
Looking for a contractor to do some odd jobs around the house? Consider these often neglected home maintenance items to keep your home and family in check and safe.