There is nothing more frustrating for home owners than discovering that the thousands of dollars paid for basic repair services wasn't worth the price of dirt. Unfortunately, this happens all the time and horror stories are more common that you may think. The danger of word-of-mouth repair man recommendations is that there is no paper trail and you are working off one person's word against another.
There are several steps one can take in order to avoid employing the services of shady scammer, resultin in substandard work.
Lang Premier Properties suggests five ways to avoid reapair scams:
1. - Get EVERYTHING in Writing
You might consider your word to be your bond, however there are many people out there who do not operate under the same philosophy. Make sure you get everything in writing. Don't settle for a few napkin scribblings. Make sure you have a formal, written estimate detailing the work to be performed, the expected time frame, and a break down of payment due dates. It doesn't matter that your best friend's mother's hairdresser's godmother swears by a particular contractor. You need to make sure everything is writing. Verbal agreements mean nothing and do not hold up in court.
Without a contract, you risk the possibility of a myriad of horrible circumstances: your contractor could hire a run-of-the mill handyman who does not have the necessary expertise to adequately perform the requested work, your general contracotr could take all of your cash and skip town, or the job could be started and NEVER completed.
2. - Do Your Homework
Don't rely soley on the recommendations of trusted friends, neighbors, and even family members. ALWAYS do your homework, digging as deep as you can in order to find a reputable candidate for the job. Your local Better Business Bureau is a good source for checking out the experiences others have had with a particular company or individual. Some BBB's have as many as 5.5 business reviews with over 1 million in the home space. Check to see if the contractor of your choosing has a rating with the BBB and if they are a BBB accredited business. Also, learn what type of licensing is required for their profession and whether there are any customer reviews.
3. - Get a MINIMUM of 3 In-Home Estimates
Any contractor who is willing to provide a project quote over the phone, sight unseen, is a huge red flag. It simply isn't possible to provide an accurate estimate of a job that has never been reviewed. If the company is unwilling to give an in-person estimate, you need to continue your search. Also, do not make your selection based soley on the lowest estimate. You get what you pay for and you need to compare estimates in order to get the best deal. The highest quote doesn't guarantee the best work either, but the lowest quote is not always the best deal.
4. - Never Pay the Full Amount Due Upfront
Reputable contactors do not need to request that a job be paid in full up front before they begin their work. Apply the thirds rule: one-third is due up front, one-third should be paid once the job is substantially complete, and the remaining third shelled out once it is officially done.
NEWSFLASH: Make sure your hired contractor is paying the subcontractors as the subcontractors can come after YOU for payment if the contractor does not follow through. Before beginning any work, request a list of subcontractors from your general contractor along with a list of their wages, when they are going to be paid, and proof that they have been paid as the work progresses.
5. - Check Out the BBB
The BBB exists for a reason: to protect patrons and the community and to provide support to businesses that are in good standing. The BBB also exists to keep track of businesses that don't follow through on their commitments to their clients. In the event that you are unable to locate a business within the BBB directory, you may request that they open a review for you. In addition, investigate resources such as Angie's List in order to ensure you are hiring a reputable company.
If you'd like to learn more, please don't hesitate to message Lang Premier Properties online or call us at 1-855-526-4466.