It is not always easy to find a good contractor; It may take you some time and a fair amount of effort. Part of the problem is bad contractors often look and sound like good contractors at the start of a job, but reveal their true nature once the work is underway. So how can you tell if you’re dealing with a potentially bad contractor or a have really found a good one? Below are some telltale signs of both types of contractors.
Bad contractors are usually very likable and promise you lots of good things at very reasonable prices. Unfortunately, they can’t usually follow through on their promises and may not be around to finish the job at all. Here’s some other characteristics of bad contractors:
- They do not usually like to write things down or work with contracts. Often say things like, “we don’t need a contract, we understand each other.”
- They try to convince you to use non-standard materials or not build to industry standards including statements like “we don’t need permits they’re just a money grab by the city.”
- They need to be constantly supervised to ensure they are working and using the materials called for in the job specifications, then threaten to walk off the job when you supervise them ‘too’ closely.
- They often look for payment upfront or most of the funds soon after starting the job. Or they claim to have made a mistake in the estimate and ask for more money to complete the job.
- They make infrequent appearances at the job site and don’t supervise or coordinate the work of subcontractors or their own workers.
- They frequently want to move onto another aspect of the job before they have properly finished the previous part.
Good contractors display a totally different set of characteristics. You can usually tell you’ve got a good contractor when your contractor:
- Is willing to show you proof of his insurance, license and provide references to the quality of his work.
- Wants to work with a contract that clearly defines his responsibilities as well as the homeowner’s.
- Understands the importance and necessity of permits and building inspections to verify the work has been done according to industry standards and local building codes.
- Doesn’t look for you to pay for a job upfront and requires only a small deposit to begin work.
- Uses quality materials as called for in the contract and doesn’t try to substitute lower quality goods.
- Shows up at the job site and supervises workers and sub-contractors.
- Treats your property with respect.
- Welcomes questions from the homeowner and/or designer.
- Finishes the job on time or very close to the schedule.
Another characteristic of ‘good’ contractors is they are often very busy. You may not be able to get them when you want them, but, in most cases, you’d be well advised to try and adapt your plans, so you can get a ‘good’ contractor.’ Trust us. Working with a ‘bad’ contractor is an experience you just don’t want to go through.