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5 Signs You Hired the Wrong Contractor for Your Project

It’s an unfortunate reality: hiring the wrong contractor can cost you time, money, and headaches. You can’t always trust a contractor’s word, so you need to be aware of the clear signs of a bad contractor before hiring.

For your next home remodeling project, make sure to consider these eight signs before hiring a contractor so that you don’t become another statistic.


What Happens if a Contractor Doesn’t Want a Contract

Contractors who don’t want anything in writing may be hiding something. This could include poor workmanship, shoddy materials, and a lack of concern for your safety. For these reasons, it’s important to get everything in writing before hiring the contractor.

Not having details of your project in writing is a way for the contractor to go back on their promises. They don’t have to be as liable, legally, without the job details in writing. Unfortunately, this can cause them to take shortcuts on your project or not finish it.

Good contractors want to cover every possible situation that might happen because they don’t want to make mistakes. They will get as much in writing as they can so that there are clear expectations.

Good contractors don’t want to get into legal battles that cost them their reputation. Instead, they want to provide quality work and give you all the information you need to feel comfortable.


They Overcommit to Projects

An inexperienced or unprofessional contractor may make grandiose promises with no intention of keeping them due to a lack of experience or knowledge on how to complete the project. Likewise, beware of contractors who promise you the world without any follow-through.

These types of contractors will tell you a specific deadline and then come up with a variety of excuses on why they can’t deliver. Oftentimes, they had no intention of providing quality work; they just wanted you to commit to the price.

Good contractors will be realistic about what you should expect and won’t just tell you what you want to hear. They will reason with you and communicate why something isn’t getting finished.

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How to Tell if a Contractor Has Experience

You can tell if a remodeling contractor has experience by the way they conduct themselves in conversation and the potential solutions they can provide. Inexperienced contractors can create awkward or uncomfortable situations because they don’t know the right thing to say and don’t know how to fix problems that more experienced contractors would have no issue with.

If you have a feeling your contractor just isn’t living up to what you want it may be a red flag they don’t have the experience you’re looking for. Another way to tell is if they are connected to the industry.

Ask questions if they know specific companies or if they know specific high-profile people. The more a contractor spends time working on projects, the more they develop a community. If your contractor hasn’t had this experience, they won’t know many people in the contracting world.


Their Rates Are Suspiciously Low

Some contractors may offer low prices and guarantees as an initial bargaining tactic, but this could be a ploy to gain your business. The lower the price, the more suspicious you should be.

Contractors who know their value and are confident in their work don’t need to charge low prices to find work. Instead, the work typically finds them because of their reputation.

Contractors who are offering bottom-level prices are using any method they can to get more individuals to sign up with them.

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Should a Contractor Pull Permits

If your contractor is telling you that you don’t need to pull permits in order to work on your project, it’s time to move on.

Contractors who aren’t going to pull permits are not following all the codes and regulations to finish your project. This could cause you to be responsible for major fines from the city if it was ever found out.

Permits are required by law before a major project is completed on a home. You have to watch out for buried wires or pipes that could become damaged if you build in the wrong areas. Permits are given when the inspector believes your building plans are up to code.


Should a Contractor Have References

If you hired a contractor before actually checking out their references, that was your first mistake. But if you take a look after the fact and it doesn’t seem that the references are real, you’ve hired the wrong contractor.

Good contractors have good references and will even ask you to reach out if you have any doubts. They are confident in their work and want others to learn more about who they are and how good of a job they’ve done.  You should be able to look online to see customer reviews from past projects.

Bad contractors will never mention their references and hope you never do either. If you can’t get a hold of your contractor’s references, you need to do more digging.

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They Have Poor People Skills

Contractors who have a hard time communicating and are a little off-putting will cause a lot more trouble in the long term.

You need someone who is prepared in any situation and can communicate effectively about what needs to happen to find solutions.

A bad contractor may be great at completing projects, but if you can’t get along or don’t even like interacting with them, it will create a terrible experience.

When building a new project for your home it should be a fun time for you and the whole family. You should be looking forward to getting your project completed and feel a sense of accomplishment and joy.

If you have a contractor who has terrible people skills, you will be more stressed and not looking forward to completing your project.


They Are Difficult to Reach

If you’re having a hard time getting in touch with your contractor, it could be a sign things are headed in a bad direction. Especially if your contractor has become MIA after a poor interaction or mistake they’ve made.

Bad contractors can disappear from your project for days, or weeks, at a time. They will avoid interacting with you directly because they don’t have to have to deal with complaints.

They will often skip planned meetings or make excuses why they couldn’t be there. You know you’ve hired a bad contractor if you can’t even get a hold of them over the phone.

There could be a legitimate reason the contractor couldn’t show in person, but not answering the phone is directly avoiding you.


Common Scams From Bad Contractors

Every bad contractor has its own methods and schemes to try and cheat you out of a good experience. If you can become more familiar with these scams, you will be better able to spot a bad contractor.


What Happens if a Contractor Claims Unforeseen Problems

In life, bad things can happen to anyone. Unforeseen problems and issues will arise over time, and you and the contractor will need to hash them out to get the project completed.

That’s all normal but what isn’t normal is when a contractor claims there are unforeseen problems and starts raising the price of your contract significantly.

Experienced contractors should be aware of what potential problems and issues will arise throughout a project. Even if these situations happen, they will be very communicative and give you all the info you need to understand the situation.

Bad contractors, on the other hand, will make excuses for why they didn’t anticipate the problem or they could even blame the issue on you to make you feel guilty. Playing with your emotions is one way they can cause you to dish out more money for the same project.

Bad contractors also use this method to win bids on projects. They will quote a very low price, so you go with them and then claim there was a problem halfway through and ask for the same amount of money you would have paid a better contractor.

Get all of your estimates in writing ahead of time, and a contract signed. That way, any additional expenses will need to be made by the contractor.


Contractor Asks for Money Upfront

Your contractor should be able to negotiate with you to find the best way to move forward. If not, they should have a clear method they use with every client that you can double-check by calling their references.

Bad contractors will not have a clear method and will not try and negotiate one that’s best for you. Instead, they will claim they need a specific percentage of the money upfront in order to buy equipment and materials.

This is one of the most common scams from contractors. After they receive the money they either disappear completely or they end up taking twice as long to finish the job. What’s the point in hurrying if you’ve already paid most of the money?

If you do need to pay part of your project upfront, make sure to vet the contractor first before hiring, so you can rely on their word. You also should pay the absolute lowest amount possible and request as much information as possible before making the payment.

Oftentimes, the contractors aren’t going to want to do a lot of work in order to get your money, so if you make them jump through some hoops to prove why they need the money, they might just abandon the tactic altogether.

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Contractor Glosses Over Contract

You shouldn’t ever go with a contractor without signing an actual contract first, but some contractors will even take this a step further to scam you.

Smooth-talking contractors will say one thing and do another. They will tell you the details of the project and all specifications verbally but then change those details when filling out the contract.

They will go on to say that you don’t really need to read the contract because it’s a formality, and you should sign right away to get the project started. This is a sign that your contractor could be misleading you.

When you sign a contract without reading it you are at the mercy of the contractor and whatever is in that contract. The contractor could put a stipulation that they are able to abandon the project whenever they feel is necessary without reimbursement and there will be little you can do about it.

Save yourself plenty of time and money by reading every word of your contract before actually signing it. Good contractors will even encourage you to take a look through everything to make sure everyone is on the same page. They don’t want to be in the middle of a project and deal with a client who is caught off-guard.


Signs You Hired the Wrong Contractor

It’s not always easy, especially if this is your first project, to find the right contractor before hiring them. As long as you follow the clear signs on this list, you will have an easier time picking out a contractor that won’t be out to get you.

If you live in The Bay Area and are looking for a professional contractor with customer reviews t prove it, contact us today.  Element Home Remodeling is a Mountain View home remodeling contractor that services the entire Bay Area.  We have a reputation for being on-time and on-budget and are one of the highest rated contractors in The Bay Area.

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