Contractor for Hire: Beware

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by NOVA Pros, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Jan 13, 2009 #1

    NOVA Pros

    NOVA Pros

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    I recently read an article that gave some warning signs that you are about to hire a bad contractor.

    Some of those signs were:
    1. The name, address, or phone number cannot be verified.
    2. A special price will be given ONLY if you sign the contract today.
    3. A contractor’s license or insurance is not provided or you cannot verify the information given.
    4. The salesperson asks for payment up front for the entire job.
    5. The deposit is required to be in cash or check to individual (instead of company).
    6. The contractor does not give you a signed agreement or warranty of work done.

    I wanted to share these and see if there are any other warning signs out there that should make us consider twice before hiring a contractor.

    Thanks,
    NOVAPros
     
  2. Jan 13, 2009 #2

    CraigFL

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    I'm very careful about this. Recently I checked out a person that was advertising on Craigslist and found he had be arrested many times for drug use as well as theft. Needless to say, this is not the type of person you want working for you.

    If the person has a business, you will want to check with the Better Business Bureau. It will not be the definitive answer on them but you can get good information on their past performance.

    Also be sure they have insurance!!
     
  3. Jan 16, 2009 #3

    NOVA Pros

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    Thanks for that tip. I wouldn't have thought about checking with the BBB, but you are correct. They would have any "bad" info on the contractor.

    I have learned to always make sure they have current insurance (and proof of it, not just the sign on their truck or a verbal).

    Most helpful.

    NOVAPros
     
  4. Jan 16, 2009 #4

    inspectorD

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    You need to call the insurance company to make sure the $ amount of the insured is valid. Anyone can make a certificate nowadays.;)
     
  5. Jan 16, 2009 #5

    jaros bros.

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    The best thing for you to do is have them notify their insurance company to send you a certificate of insurance in the mail. You should never accept a proof from the contractor directly. Nowadays contractors are saying they have insurance when they don't or giving false paperwork. My insurance agent informed me of this last year. Contractors are advertising that they have it and nobody knows the difference. I can't even get a certificate sent to me, it has to go to my client via the insurance agent. Then if I cancel it, they will send a notice of cancellation to my clients that are certificate holders.

    Josh Jaros (Jaros Bros. Construction)
     
  6. Jan 20, 2009 #6

    TaskBoy

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    I'm in Calif. and we have the CSLB (state lic board) that provides a website where you can verify personnel, current lic status, insurance and even complaints against the contractor. I always looked up guys prior to hiring and found some that weren't current with insurance or even suspended from doing work. The same guys said in their ads that they were licensed (yeah but not that they were suspended).

    The legit guys will have no prob having you call their insurance companies or references, etc.. Some of the legit guys realized that I checked with the lic. board as I revealed some otherwise unknown info about them. They complimented me for doing so. I guess that made them feel their investment in doing business right was worth it.
     
  7. Jan 21, 2009 #7

    majakdragon

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    I always ask for their license and insurance paperwork. If they are not licensed, they cannot pull the proper permits. Un-permitted work falls back on the home owner in the end. Most States I have lived in require the contractor to provide the State or City with insurance proof. I also make sure permits are posted on site. Never believe a contractor when they say they have the permit, since an inspector "stopping by" won't either. You also need to inquire about any sub-contractors who may be hired to work on your property and make sure the contract includes "all" materials and labor involved. Getting sued after the job is complete, by a sub, is a real pain.
     
  8. Jan 21, 2009 #8

    NOVA Pros

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    That's a great point to notify the insurance company directly, just to validate the insurance, and to make sure what kind of policy and what is covered.

    It is always better to put some time into researching the contractor, instead of finding out later (after lots of money spent) that they were uninsured, especially if the job does not go right.

    And I suspect, if they are being sneaky about insurance, the job will ultimately end up in a mess anyway.

    Thanks.
    NOVAPros
     
  9. Feb 1, 2009 #9

    MoreTime

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  10. Feb 3, 2009 #10

    NOVA Pros

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    I knew small business had a DUNS number, but didn't think about that for a general contractor.

    Thanks.
     
  11. Apr 15, 2009 #11

    Redwood

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    Craigs List is not the place to find a contractor...:eek:
    Sheesh...
     
  12. Jul 23, 2009 #12

    patrickmaran

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    I think that's a very Important information you have share here.Some of information I did know before but there were many information that my friend also didn't know and I agree that you should be quite aware about these things.If you need any information on Home contractor you can try it out it's call
    generalcontractors411.com/:beer:
     
  13. Jul 24, 2009 #13

    kok328

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    Actually, I posted an ad on craiglist for a roofer and there are some really desparate people out there that are willing to almost eat the job for a few extra bucks.
    However, once I insisted that they provide verifyable license and insurance, the number of responses went down dramatically. I even changed my ad to where I would be purchasing the materials so nobody hits me up for 50% down to buy materials to start the job and walks away with my money. This will be labor only, I will be calling your insurance company to verify coverage and limits, I will be paying you by check so there's noway you can say I didn't pay you and place a lien on my home. I will accompany you to my bank and stand there while you cash the check so you don't think I'm trying to rip you off. Other than that, a BBB check didn't occur to me and will be adding that to my list. References are a joke - who's going to give a name and number to someone that they know will speak badly of them. These references where hand picked by the contractor or maybe even the contractors relatives. References mean nothing to me.
     
  14. Jul 24, 2009 #14

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    What I think is a good way to find a good honest contractor is simply to keep your yellow pages phone books for the past several years.

    Every day of every year in every city in the US and Canada, experienced and knowledgeable people quit their jobs working for someone else and start their own companies in the same line of work. Now, NO ONE is as stupid as people are portrayed to be on TV. No one will do that if they're still learning and screwing up and making mistakes on their employer's work. They'll keep learning and making mistakes on their boss's reputation until they feel they've learned all their likely to, have been able to fix that last mistake they made years ago, and feel they could run their company if they had to. It's only then that they start thinking...

    And, making that move can be scary because they're giving up their seniority and rung on the company ladder to start their own business. So, they're going to play their cards conservatively. They're going to give each potential customer honest advice about what needs to be done to solve the problem once and for all, and charge a reasonable rate for doing that work, and hope that if they do their job the best they can, the rest will fall into place and their new company will be a success. They'd have to be stupid to try ripping off their customers for all they can get and leaving behind a trail of bad word-of-mouth advertising. That way if times turn tough, theirs will be one of the first businesses out-of-business.

    Obviously, anyone who's planning to do that is gonna make sure that they get their name in the yellow pages otherwise their company doesn't stand a chance of getting it's fair share of the business that's being done.

    So, the easiest way to find those new upstart companies is to simply keep the yellow pages phone books that you get every year, and by comparing names and numbers in the yellow pages for several years in a row on a spread sheet, you can find out who's gone or folded or retired, who's simply changed their name, and who's new.

    I've found that the new guys actually do better work than the well established companies because the president and owner of the well established company isn't coming out to redo your roof, build your fence or pour your driveway himself. He's sending out a bunch of kids along with one or two of his experienced guys (and calling that a "crew"). When you hire one of the new companies in the phone book, the guy that's doing your roof, fence or driveway probably was the most experienced guy in his company before he started working for you. And now, it's in his own best interest to do the best job he can for you, cuz it's his company and reputation that benefits for each job well done.

    And, if you want to confirm it's not a fly by night outfit, simply check the company registration at your local government offices. In Manitoba, that's called the Companies Office. You can find out the names, addresses and phone numbers of the principal shareholders of any corporation or that of the owner(s) of a sole proprietorship for $5. Then, just mosey on down to your local Property Tax Office and find out who pays the property tax on the address your newbie self employed contractor is living at. If the right name shows up, that means your contractor OWNS the house he's living in, and not just renting it, and that means he's not going to "take off" on you. He's got a $200,000 worth of house keeping him rooted in your town, and selling it for half of nothing real fast so he can take off to Bolivia with your $5,000 won't make sense to him either. (I'm making the assumption here that no one pays the property tax on someone else's house.)

    This is all just common sense. If you were to start your own company, how would you run it? To fleece every customer unlucky enough to come your way, or to do the best job you can for every customer that comes your way and leave the rest to providence because you understand that's about all you CAN do to help your new company succeed in life.
    Exactly. I'd play it safe too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009

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