Whether you’re renovating or working on new construction, you rely on your contractor for a lot – so realizing that your contractor may not be up to the job can be gut-wrenching.
Naturally, you want to exercise a little “due diligence” when you select the person for your job, and that means making sure that you check their license, make sure they’re insured and do a quick internet search to see how they’re rated online by prior customers and the Better Business Bureau. Even so, that may not be enough.
Listen to your early instincts
Selecting the right contractor also means listening to your gut instincts and watching carefully for signs of trouble in your early interactions (before you sign the contract). Here are some signals that say it’s time to move on to the next candidate:
- You see no online presence for their company. That’s a sign that they may have changed company names to try to get away from their bad reviews – or they’re operating illegally. Either way, you don’t want any part of it.
- They are poor communicators. If a contractor isn’t responsive to your messages, is late to meetings, doesn’t seem to be clear about your anticipated costs or just has lousy interpersonal skills before they even have your business, imagine how bad they’ll be after you’ve signed a contract.
- They’re pushy about your project or money. It’s fair for a contractor to ask for a downpayment and have a payment schedule, but you should run the other direction if they want a large chunk (or all) of the money for a job upfront. The same goes if they’re aggressive about trying to push you into their vision for your job instead of listening to yours.
As the old saying goes, prevention really is worth a pound of cure. It’s better to avoid a bad contractor from the start than deal with legal complications later. If it’s already too late, however, make sure that you have experienced legal guidance to help you recoup your losses.