Cons come in all shapes and sizes, they’re not all overt and in your face like the famed Nigerian prince scheme. In fact, some are so sophisticated you don’t even know you’ve been scammed until it is too late. This happens a lot with home remodels, more than you’d think.
The problem is that we are too trusting of those that we think are there to help us out. We trust contractors for their expertise because let’s face it, how may of us are actually any good at installing cabinetry or rewiring electrical outlets? Not too many.
While the bulk of contractors we’ve come across are good at their jobs, and even better people, there are a few out there who give all the others a bad name. Some try scare tactics to get you to pay for unnecessary services, some demand cash only payments, but bail as soon as the money is in hand; others provide fake Contract and/or Registration Numbers.
The key to avoiding many of these types of scams however is to be proactive in the hiring process. Here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed by your contractor:
- Verify all Texas Contractor License and Registration Numbers with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration BEFORE signing any contracts.
- ALWAYS have a written contract and schedule payments into said contract. Do not make any verbal agreements – you should always leave a paper trail.
- Pay only by check or money order. Again, paper trails are your friend.
- Do not agree to pay any more than 10% of $1,000 (whichever is less) as a down payment for services.
- Ask for at least three references. If they can’t provide references, you can’t hire them.
- Google them. This is the digital age; most every business should have an online imprint. If they do not, it is not a good sign.
- Ask for proof of insurance and bonding. Their liability insurance should provide coverage that is equal to or greater than the total cost of your project.
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