Hiring a contractor to work on your house is a challenge. You want someone you trust because, if you depend on someone who lets you down, you stand to lose more than money and time. The simple project of window installation or adding a new entry door could turn into a nightmare where you avert your eyes in the place where you should feel safest and happiest—your home.
Learn what to do from the cautionary tales of three bad contractors.
Some home projects, like replacing your gutters, seem like straight-forward jobs and you may be tempted to believe a contractor who scoffs at the effort to obtain permits or offer references. The truth is, a local building official saves homeowners from bad jobs by ensuring the work is done to code. Even if a permit isn’t required, it’s better to hire a contractor willing to stand up to the scrutiny of a professional inspection and past customers.
Also, always make sure your contractor is licensed to work in Minnesota or you will not be able to access the Contractor Recovery Fund, a bucket into which licensed contractors pay to compensate consumers with justifiable complaint.
Listen with your ears and your gut. If you feel uncomfortable when a contractor asks for more than half the payment up front, pay attention! Deposits are part of doing business—contractors take a risk in trusting customers— but that amount is usually a third of the total job cost. For example, your contractor should be in good standing with window companies and not ask you to pay for new windows in full before the installation begins.
Avoid contractors who insist on cash deals. You will want a paper trail in case of payment disputes and a good contractor will agree because that paperwork protects both of you.
Many jobs require several bodies to complete. If you need siding replacement, you can expect a crew during siding installation. Does your contractor refer to his workers by name or as “my guys?” Can he describe their experience and skills? A bad contractor will constantly have new subs because the last ones learned fast that he wasn’t a good boss; a bad boss is not someone you want to hire.
Signature Home Services is ready to demonstrate integrity with detailed information, paperwork, and references at the ready. We want to earn your trust. Our customers come back to us again and again because we believe the quality of the work we do is just as important as who we are on the job.