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Contractor Red Flags to Watch For

March 28, 2023

Hi there! I'm Teresa, founder and lead designer of Ariva & Co. I can't wait to share design tips and advice, projects and DIY's with you!

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Choosing the right General Contractor for your project can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re not quite sure what to look for. Websites like Thumbtack and Houzz make it easier by verifying companies, however, there are still red flags that every homeowner should be on the lookout for when hiring:

1. No license

This is the number 1 red flag for good reason. ALWAYS verify a company’s license number before signing a contract. This ensures the company has the proper credentials to do the work in the first place. If you talk with someone who cannot give you a license number, run in the opposite direction.

2. No insurance

This sort of goes hand in hand with #1 but is also very important. General liability insurance is fairly easy to obtain but you would be shocked at the amount of contractors that don’t carry it.

3. No reviews

When is the last time you bought an appliance, a car or even a product on Amazon without reading the reviews first? The same goes for selecting a General Contractor to perform your home renovations. Having reviews shows they provide good (or bad) service and that they have an online presence. Having a nice looking website is a bonus!

4. Unusually low estimate

I’m sorry to break it to you, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you receive a low ball estimate it could mean the contractor is cutting costs somewhere else such as materials. It could also mean that if there’s an issue on the job site they may just leave and not come back. If you’re getting bids from multiple contractors, you’ll be able to compare and see right away if one is unusually low.

5. No contract (or poorly written)

Having a properly written contract not only protects the contractor, but also the homeowner should problems or questions arise after work commences. Make sure you understand everything in a contract before signing and ask the contractor if you’re unsure of something or need clarification.

6. Poor communication

Communication is vital during a home renovation project. This isn’t always a red flag, but if your contractor doesn’t seem to be keeping you in the loop as much as you’d like, make sure you speak up. Alternatively, if you start working with someone who doesn’t answer their phone, or takes days to respond to calls or emails, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

So the next time you’re looking for someone to complete your remodeling project, don’t forget these 6 red flags – They could save you a lot of headache and regret in the future!

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