Hiring a contractor is a difficult undertaking. If you don’t do the right research it’s easy to be susceptible to scams and litigation. This article helps you make a more informed hiring decision by discussing the things your contractor might avoid telling you.
1. "You're too kind"
You are never going to hear your contractor complain about you being too kind. You may think that being nice will inspire your contractor to work harder, but the opposite is often true. The nicer you are, the less of a fight a contractor will expect from you if he or she decides to hand you an outrages bill when the work is completed.
Don’t be afraid to assert yourself. You need to if you want high-quality work.
2. "If you pay me enough upfront, I may not return"
Contractors are not going to leave paid work on the table. They will however leave work on the table if they have already received enough of a partial payment that the rest of the work isn't worth it for them. As long as a contractor completes some of the work, they cannot face any criminal charges if they decide not to finish the rest. Don’t allow your contractor to pressure you into giving them a massive down payment.
3. "This is how I came up with your estimate"
A contractor is never going to reveal their markup price. They may have a 65% markup for certain things that they hate to do and a 25% markup for things they don't mind doing. It is best to get multiple detailed quotes before you decide on a contractor to use for a big job.
4. "You're legally just as much of a contractor as I am"
About half of the states in the United States don't require that contractors hold a professional license. Even in the states that require a license, it is extremely easy to obtain one. Someone who uses the terms "licensed contractor" in their advertisements is not really advertising anything.
5. "My schedule depends on money and changes day by day"
Once a contractor has secured a job, they gain a peace of mind that they are all set with that job, even before they have completed it. When other work comes around, they will be sure to take it. If the other work is more money for them, they may not return to finish the work on your house until they have no better options.
6. "My six year old son made this contract, now please sign it"
Contractors may try to make their contracts look professional, but they are often just a few sheets of paper that they printed out right before coming to your house. No contractor is going to create a contract that favors the customer over themselves. For large projects, it is worth paying an attorney a few hundred dollars to go over your contract, make sure it is legit, and make sure that there is a clause in there that ensures your work gets done.
7. "My wife wants to go on vacation so I made a few changes to your bill"
Last minute changes may be due to a miscalculation of some sort or unforeseen circumstances regarding the work that had to be done. They also may be the result of your contractor needing some extra money for bills, a vacation, or a retirement fund. Make sure to scrutinize any additions.
8. "It looks good, but won't last long"
If you hire a contractor and they come to you saying the work is done, you will pay them as long as it looks good. They may cheat or skip some important steps while working for you if they know that you won't notice and it will be your problem to deal with in the future. You can avoid much of these problems by educating yourself and by hiring qualified contractors to begin with. This is especially true when hiring a roofer.
9. "Thanks for signing the contract, I'll send my nephews over later to get the work done"
Contractors usually have very low standards when hiring people to work under them. A good employee can easily make money on their own. A not so good employee or just someone who is unemployed will be willing to work under someone who can find them work, even if they don't earn much. Make sure you know who is going to be doing the work before you sign any contracts.
10. "The environment isn't worth my time"
Contractors have to deal with potentially dangerous and toxic materials on a daily basis. Most contractors either don't know how to dispose of the hazardous and poisonous materials properly, or they don't care. Be careful with these kinds of materials because if they come from your house and your contractor illegally dumps them somewhere, you are going to be responsible for it.
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Bio: James is a writer for a Phoenix Roofing Company. He’s interested in all things architecture, especially green roofing.