Homeowner Protection Tips
Prices that seem too good to be true usually are. Cutting corners is a great way for a company to make more money while charging you less.
Avoid paying for everything upfront. You’ll lose the money if the company goes out of business or fails to complete the job. If you must pay up front, use a credit card.
Be wary of a company selling door-to-door. Reputable contractors rely more on referrals than door-to-door sales.
Never open an account in your name for a contractor. If a contractor’s credit is not good enough to open an account, you should probably stay away.
Resist high-pressure sales. A company that tries to rush you into a decision may not want to be researched too thoroughly.
Thoroughly check references. Before hiring a contractor, ask multiple references questions about quality, schedule adherence, cleanup, communication, and disagreement resolution.
Avoid moonlighters. A moonlighter is an employee who steals a customer from his or her own employer. They often offer a lower price by avoiding overhead such as insurance and licenses.
Avoid cash payments. Checks and other non-cash payment forms leave a paper trail, which is very useful if you ever need to prove you actually paid a bill.
Check for licenses and insurance. Research the company to make sure that they have the required trade licenses and insurance for their line of work.
Be wary of the vocal minority. The small percentage of customers who submit online reviews tend to skew to extremes and therefore, is not a representative of a company’s overall performance.
Make sure you’re on the same page with the contractor. All project details should be in writing along with any verbal commitments before signing a contract.
Never make the final payment until you are completely happy. Contractors could be less interested in making you happy after they have been paid in full.
Only compare apples to apples. Educate yourself about the quality of what you are buying, or taking the lowest price may cost you more in the end.
Request lien releases. To avoid a lien on your house, make the receipt of lien releases from the contractor and all subcontractors a condition of payment.
Avoid doing business on a handshake. Reliable companies use contracts to clarify terms and set mutual expectations.