Red flags to look for when hiring a contractor

Red flags to look for when hiring a contractor

Your home is most likely your most valuable investment. As such, any building or remodelling project is a huge undertaking that should never be taken lightly. This is why hiring a trustworthy and reliable contractor is one of the most important things you can do. Before contracts are signed or big sums of money are invested, it is critical to identify potential issues with a contractor. If you’re on the hunt for a contractor there are some important things to keep in mind. In this post, we list some red flags to look for when hiring a contractor so you can avoid headaches.

What is a contractor?

A contractor is defined as someone who coordinates and supervises all aspects of a construction or remodelling job. This includes obtaining proper permits for the project and hiring, scheduling, and supervising the work of other subcontractors. Their job entails a lot more than just managing the hands-on tasks. Licensed contractors are in charge of the entire worksite, which means they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance.

Types of contractors

You’ve probably guessed that roofers, plumbers, and carpenters are on the list of contractors. However, many speciality trades are contractors as well.

Direct contractors

A direct contractor is someone you hire directly to undertake a project. They may or may not need to hire subcontractors or labourers.

General contractors

A general contractor is usually the acting project manager for multi-speciality jobs. The general contractor is responsible for hiring specialised subcontractors, sourcing and buying materials. In addition, a general contractor is in charge of dealing with permits and inspectors, as well as communicating with the client.

Speciality trade contractors

Speciality trades are referred to as subcontractors when they work underneath a general contractor on a project and don’t deal directly with owners.

Red flags to look for when hiring a contractor

1. Exceptionally low bids

If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Unscrupulous contractors will frequently provide a quotation that is too low to attract your attention. They will subsequently add charges, additional fees, and change job specifications, causing the cost to skyrocket. Your contractor should provide a specific scope of work as well as reasonable pricing that meets your needs.

2. Asking for too much money upfront

If a contractor demands full payment upfront, this is a huge red flag. It’s common for contractors to ask for a “good faith” deposit before beginning work on a project. This deposit, however, should not exceed 10% of the entire project cost. If a contractor asks for half of the cash up front, be wary, and much more so if they want for the entire sum.

3. They aren’t licensed

No license, no deal. If a potential contractor does not have a valid active license in your locality for the specific services you want to be completed, you should remove them from consideration. If an unlicensed person works on your property, you are responsible for any damages. As such, be sure to ask for and verify the contractor’s license.

4. No insurance

Accidents do happen, regardless of the contractor’s safety protocols. Contractor liability insurance helps to protect your home, the work done, the workers in your home and your family. A reputable contractor will always be willing to provide their license and proof of insurance before beginning work.

5. They can’t offer references or reviews

If a contractor can’t provide you with references or positive reviews, you shouldn’t trust them. A reputable contractor that has been in business for a long time should be able to give you this information promptly and effortlessly. When you have the list of referrals reach out to them and ask about their overall experience with the contractor.

6. Don’t provide a contract

A potentially problematic contractor sees putting anything in writing as an inconvenience or complication. However, a contract is necessary to safeguard both you and the contractor, regardless of how big or small the project is. If your contractor refuses to sign a contract, it’s a huge red flag that he or she is possibly dishonest, unwilling to follow through on promises, or unwilling to lock in a price before work begins.

7. Lack of preparations and plans

If your contractor repeatedly arrives unprepared, refuses to collaborate with you on project plans, or displays indicators of being late and unorganised early in the process, you may not want to work with them. You want to work with a contractor who is eager to develop your projects, communicates with you about plans, and is always organised and prepared for work.

Final thoughts

This list of red flags is a good starting point, but it’s not exhaustive. There are a variety of personal factors that may impact who you pick as your project contractor in the end. Your home is a significant part of your life, and the people you hire to work on it should be carefully chosen.

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