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How Do I Protect Myself From Shady Contractors?

Home and business owners need to keep their properties in good condition. Whether your property was damaged due to a storm or you just want to make some repairs or changes, you need to find a contractor you can trust. Unfortunately, choosing a reputable contractor can be a daunting experience. It is true that some contractors can have a bad image, and sometimes, a shady contractor can take advantage of even the smartest homeowners. Here are some tips to help protect yourself from disreputable contractors.

Do I Need a Contractor?

If your home or property is in need of repair, you know about it, right? Unfortunately, sometimes unscrupulous contractors may go door to door in neighborhoods, knocking on doors. When you answer, the contractor may tell you that you have a tree that is in poor condition or a roof that has damage. When someone comes to your door to offer repairs you did not ask for, be wary. These contractors (occasionally from outside of the town/state) could be trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money. If you want someone to do work, make sure they have a license.

Check References

A friend, co-worker, or family member may tell you about a contractor who they used in the past. Do not let one personal reference be enough to hire a contractor. It is best to check into a contractor’s references before you sign a contract. Besides reading online reviews, request several recent local references. Then, call those people to ask how the work went and whether they recommend the contractor. You can also drive by the homes where work was completed to view the results if you can see them from the road.

Negotiate Payment Terms

When you are discussing payment for the work, be sure not to pay for the entire project in advance. Instead, request a payment plan that provides for a down payment, along with additional payments for milestones throughout the project. A final payment should only be made after the project is complete and you accept it as fully correct. Make certain that the payment terms are part of the written contract. Remember that verbal agreements do not matter unless the information is included in the contract.

Review the Contract

Always request a contract and review the contract before you sign it. Take your time to fully read the document. Consult with an attorney to ensure that the contract is complete and valid. You need to read the terms of the agreement, so do not sign it in a hurry. A reputable contractor will allow you the time you need to read the details of the document and will not try to get you to sign it too quickly. Keep in mind that you can request specific changes to the contract before you agree to it.

Shady contractors are all around, so it is important to stay vigilant and take steps to protect yourself. Call us at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or send us an email online to request a consultation.

Published April 2, 2024
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