Although we’d like to think that all general contractors play by the rules, this is unfortunately not the case. According to an estimate from the Federal Trade Commission in 2012, Americans lost $1.4 billion to contractor fraud and scams.
As general contractors in Ocala, FL, we at Tallen Builders hate to hear this news. It’s important to us that these unlawful contractors don’t get away with taking your money and leaving you with a shoddy building project, or worse, skipping town before even finishing the project. In this blog article, we’ll explain the warning signs to look out for so you can avoid common contractor scams.
No Portfolio or References
While we understand that everyone has to start somewhere, you should always be wary of a contractor with absolutely no portfolio or references from previous jobs. They should at least have evidence of working for another employer or from their time as an apprentice. Even with limited work history, you can still call their references to at least get some picture of the type of work they do. The difference between some work history and no work history is huge!
No matter where you live, all general contractors are required to have the proper licenses and insurance required by their state. Make sure the contractor you’re going to hire has the proper credentials for the job, as well as adequate liability insurance for their workers. When you hire a contractor without a license you’re not only putting the quality of your building project on the line, but you’re also taking away business from those contractors who worked hard to obtain all the proper licenses.
Pressuring You to Make a Decision
If a general contractor is pressuring you to make a decision immediately, don’t sign a thing! A good contractor understands that it takes time for a homeowner to make such a large financial decision. A legitimate contractor will give you a reasonable amount of time to look over their quote, often a few weeks to a month. Any contractor pressuring you to sign the same day that they make their offer should be avoided.
Shady Payment Arrangements
If a contractor asks for a large sum up-front or requires cash-only, be wary. This is especially true if they ask for payment before a proper contract has been written up and signed. You should really only be paying in advance for large jobs, and even then it should only be around 30 percent of the job total.
Keeping on the lookout for these warning signs will help ensure that you hire a reliable contractor for your next building project. If you’re looking for an experienced general contractor in Central Florida, give us a call at Tallen Builders. You can also reach us through our contact form or on any of our social networks.
— Tallen Builders (@TallenBuilders) October 2, 2014