How to Know if Your Contractor is Ripping You Off

Keep an Eye Out For These Key Signs

Hiring a contractor, whether it be for a new roof or another home repair need you may have at the moment, should be a simple process. However, too often, news headlines are filled with homeowners who have been taken advantage of by one type of contractor or another. In today’s world, it can be difficult to know who you can trust. Fortunately, there are some signs to look for that are often huge red flags. If you are looking for some insight in how to know if your contractor is ripping you off (or could potentially rip you off), our list should give you a great head start.

How to know if your contractor is ripping you offThey Have Poor Communication Skills

Most homeowners are not roofing/plumbing/electrical/building experts. That’s where your contractor comes in. However, as the homeowner, you have the right to understand what is going to happen to your home- and what is happening when the project begins. If the contractor is not able to clearly communicate their process to you – or more so, not willing to do so- this is a huge red flag. Whether you are meeting with an estimator from that company, or the contractor themselves, your conversation should leave you with a clear understanding of what services you should expect to receive. A vague or evasive conversation is usually a sign of incompetence and/or that they have something to hide.

They are Reluctant to Provide a Copy of Their License

A reputable contractor should have no issue providing you a copy of their license. More so, their license number should be visible on all marketing materials and contracts. While an unlicensed handyman can be appropriate for the small, ad-hoc repair here or there, most projects require a licensed contractor. If a contractor is unwilling to discuss their licensed and bonded status, you should look to hiring another contractor.

They are Difficult to Reach

There are reasonable work hours and standards for communication that apply to businesses. If you find that your contractor is hard to reach, doesn’t return your calls in a timely manner, or does not arrive on time for your estimate, this could be cause for concern. Both parties should establish and agree what days and times are acceptable during the project so there are no surprises later. Ultimately, you want a contractor that is willing to be available to you (within reason, of course) for the duration of your project.

how to know if your contractor is ripping you offThey are Reluctant to Sign a Contract

While many people may feel that a contract is “just a piece of paper,” it can offer protection to both the contractor and the homeowner in the event a dispute may arise. A clearly defined contract will ensure the contractor outlines the scope of work they are proposing for your project – along with the terms and conditions that outline any expectations they have for the customer. In the end, having a contract ensures that expectations on both ends are clear and formalized.

Their Rates are Significantly Lower Than Others

It’s understandable that, as a homeowner, you want the best price available- especially on the more expense improvements such as installing a new roof. While sometimes smaller companies may not have as much overhead, a significantly lower rate could be cause for concern. According to Allison Hester, Publisher of eClean Magazine, “A significantly lower rate means something’s most likely not right. They probably don’t carry insurance, don’t spend money to travel to training events, don’t keep up with the latest technology and processes, certainly don’t carry worker’s comp, and so on.” Hester suggests paying more for quality, professional service rather than hiring the “low-baller who is going to charge you a significantly lower rate but do a crummy job or destroy your property in the process.

They Don’t Get the Right Permits

Another huge red flag is if your contractor is relunctant or refuses to pull the necessary permits for the work they are intending to carry out. Most municipalities require a permit for major plumbing, electrical, or structural changes (such as replacing your roof). By choosing a contractor that pulls the proper permits will ensure that a) your project will be completed to meet or exceed the local building codes in your area b) that the project will be inspected by a neutral third party at least once (depending on the area and the job, in progress inspections may be required as well) and c) your project is legal and will not faces issues down the line – particularly if you plan to sell your home at some point.

how to know if your contractor is ripping you offThey Don’t Follow OSHA Guidelines

You want a contractor that values you as the homeowner, your property, and their staff. One of the most important ways to do that is for them to enforce OSHA safety guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) governs workplaces, with special emphasis on construction sites, through very strict and specific guidelines on maintaining a safe worksite. For example, does your roofing contractor enforce fall protection for their installers? When meeting with a contractor or a member of their team before your project begins, be sure to raise the question of safety. A reputable, reliable contractor should not hesitate to discuss their commitment to safety.

How to Know if Your Contractor is Ripping You Off

Hiring a roofer, or other home improvement contractor, means investing your time, money, and trust in someone to do the job you’ve contracted them to do. While the endeavor may seem overwhelming, asking the right questions and making sure you get the answers you are looking for is a great place to start. Always remember, licensing, insurance, permitting, and safety are huge indicators and will give you a good feel for the company that will be working on your most valuable investment.

The Roof Commander Difference

Roof Commander is a licensed and insured roofing contractor providing roof replacement, roof maintenance and roof cleaning services. We maintain stringent safety standards at all times in order to protect both our customers and our associates…and that’s just the beginning. If you would like to learn more about the Roof Commander difference, you can give us a call at 352-459-7599, email us at [email protected] or send us a message!