5 Tips to Avoid a Contractor Scamming You!
After dealing with being scammed myself, I decided to write this article so you can have 5 tips to avoid a contractor scamming you. My name is Asmint Cruz and I am the owner of an electrical contractor company. Recently, I was scammed by a local contractor that took thousands of dollars from me and I never saw him again. I never want you to experience what I went through so I wanted to shed some light on some tell-tale signs that a contractor is probably going to scam you and take your hard-earned cash.
I had a remodel project that I’ve been working on that was nearing an end. I was just waiting on the flooring to be finished. After putting off getting the floors done for a couple of months I finally decided to find a local flooring contractor. The individual I found seemed like he knew what he was doing and could be trusted. Long story short, he could not be trusted as he took my nearly $5,000 deposit and never came back. As an electrician, I’ve heard of these stories from my customers and friends, but I never thought it would happen to me.
While this was an expensive lesson for me, I did my research and found ways to sniff out the “bad-eggs” and land yourself a great contractor, no matter what work you need done.
How Do You Know if a Contractor is Legit?
Below are 5 tips that will help you find a great contractor that will not steal your money or scam you.
- Make sure the contractor is licensed. No matter what area of work they are in they should be licensed in most cases
- If they are not licensed, make sure they have a list of referrals. Don’t base everything off of their Google reviews because some of those can be faked. This can possibly be true for those businesses that have a dozen or less reviews.
- Make sure their vehicle has a license number on it. Also, look at the business card they give you and make sure that has their business license on it as well. In many states, and Ohio is one of them, you cannot advertise or have your business logo without your license being shown.
- Check to see if the contractor has a website. If they have a website that means they have spent thousands of dollars (typically) to make sure someone did the job right. If they are spending money on their business appearance, then there is a higher chance of the contractor being more trustworthy. If the contractor doesn’t spend the money on having a professional appearance for their business, then why should you risk spending the money on them?
- Pay by credit card!
Why Should You Pay Contractors By Credit Card?
I want to spend a little more time on my fifth tip for you. Make sure you pay your contractors by credit card due to a few important reasons. If your contractor does not accept credit cards, walk away. Do not do any work with a contractor that does not accept credit cards. If you pay by check, it is very difficult to get your money back as it is almost like paying by cash.
There have been contractors that go around collecting deposits from customers and they can’t handle the work. Then they declare bankruptcy. Once they declare bankruptcy and you already gave them the cash or check, then there is almost no getting the money back. If you pay by credit card, then you can dispute the charges. Then typically, the credit card company will give you the money back and you won’t be scammed out of thousands and thousands of dollars.
Most Common Types of Contractor Scams
While scammers are getting more creatives ways to get money from you, there are common scams that you can find in the world of contractors. Below is a list of common types of contractor scams to avoid.
Scam #1: Pay For the Job Upfront
Just as you see from my personal example, never pay for more than 10% upfront. Paying 10% at most will mitigate your risks and potentially save you thousands of dollar. Remember to always pay by credit card!
Scam #2: I Don’t Need to Pull a Permit
Any reputable contractor knows that you need to pull a permit for any significant construction project. Next time you hear from a contractor that they don’t need a permit for a sizable project, move on to the next one!
Scam #3: We Ran Into Some Unforeseeable Issues
Does your contractor seem to always find something wrong as your project is moving along? This can sometimes be a sign that this person is trying to scam you and land some of your hard earned cash into his buddies pockets that are also in the trades. Do issues come up as work is being done? Absolutely. However, when this keeps occurring and the problem you are hearing just doesn’t add up, consult with another professional and get a second opinion. Keep asking questions and keep pressing your contractor if what they are saying doesn’t make sense.
After reading this article I hope you feel like you are ready to tackle your next project. There is no doubt that there are many people out there trying to pull scams on you and the ones you love. Make sure you remember these 5 tips and bookmark this page. Send this article to anyone that you don’t want to see scammed in these days that hearing about a scam is like hearing about your local sports team. It’s way too common and I don’t want it to happen to you.