Warning Signs of a Bad Contractor

Selecting the right contractor can sometimes feel like picking someone out of a lineup while blindfolded, finding the perfect needle in a stack of needles and, when all else fails, hopefully throwing darts at a dartboard.

The most important decision a homeowner makes for every redesign project is often the hardest. Hiring a contractor is a decision homeowners have to make based on their gut, their budget and the contractor’s name, reputation and credentials.

To find any contractor is easy. Just Google “contractor” and call the first name that comes up in your search, or dial up the first contractor you come across in the phone book. Talented, honest, ethical, affordable and dependable are essential traits every contractor must have, but our character traits that don’t automatically turn up in a simple search engine search or a five-minute phone interview.

Simply put, a contractor is a call you can’t miss on. The fate of your remodel’s success depends on it.

No pressure, everybody.

To find the right contractor for your job requires more work, due diligence and attention to your home’s remodel’s fine details. For as Contractorsfromhell.com stresses, “A successful home remodeling project is dependent upon finding an ethical, reliable, competent and experienced contractor.”

Warning Signs Of A Bad Contractor

So can you tell whether a contractor is an Honest Abe or a Shyster Sammy, a Bob Vila or a Bad News Bob? Discover whether they are guilty of one of these deal-breaking flaws in Fit Small Business’ Top 25 Warning Signs You’ve Hired The Wrong Contractor:

  1. They Constantly Make Excuses
  2. They Have Significantly Lower Prices Than Competitors
  3. They Don’t Like Written Agreements
  4. They Only Communicate Via Phone Calls
  5. They Don’t Answer Your Questions
  6. They’re Not Comfortable Providing You With References
  7. They Are Unlicensed
  8. They Are Often Late To Meetings
  9. They Don’t Have Good Reviews
  10. They Lack The Necessary Experience
  11. You Get A Bad Feeling About Them
  12. They Have Poor Interpersonal & Social Skills
  13. They Don’t Provide A Detailed Breakdown of Costs
  14. They Don’t Have The Right Tools for the Job
  15. They Show A Lack of Enthusiasm
  16. They Constantly Miss Deadlines
  17. They Make Too Many Promises
  18. They Can Provide Quotes Immediately
  19. Blaming Others When Problems Arise
  20. They Rely On High-Pressure Sales Tactics
  21. They Have Trouble Getting Permits
  22. They Aren’t Very Responsive
  23. No Online Presence
  24. They Don’t Follow the Guidelines in Your Contract
  25. No Contractors Insurance

The Essential Contractor Background Check

The first rule of hiring a contractor: Do your homework.

Here’s Our Essential Contractor Background Check:

  1. Hire Only Licensed Contractors: As handy as your good buddy Lenny “The Wrench” may be, if he ain’t legit, he ain’t the man for your job.
  2. Check Their Report Card: Verify they have a good record with Iowa’s Contractors License Board and not a laundry list of client complaints.
  3. Check Their References: Touch base with your local Better Business Bureau to ensure they are dependable and ask for a recent (12 months) list of references. This will give you a much better picture of the contractor’s current work and standing with customers.
  4. Verify The Contractors’ Insurance: You don’t want to find out down the line his license expired two years ago.
  5. Get At Least 3 Bids Using The Same Remodel Plan: This will ensure you find the best contractor for your budget and your vision of your remodel project.
  6. Make Sure He/She’s No Fly By Night Remodeler: Make sure they maintain a permanent mailing address, email address, published personal phone number and a cell phone or voice-messaging system.

How To Find The Right Contractor

Here’s This Old House’ winning formula of finding the right contractor for your remodel.

  1. Do Phone Interviews
  2. Meet Face to Face
  3. Investigate Their Work
  4. Make Plans, Get Bids
  5. Set A Payment Schedule
  6. Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide
  7. Put It In Writing

Doing detective work on contractors may sound about as much fun as working on Saturday, but it’s the most important work you will do on your home’s remodel project. For you don’t want to start working with Dr. Jekyll and end up with Mr. Hyde.

For as How Stuff Works’ Garth Sundem explains, “It’s best you spot (a contractor’s) Hyde-like behavior early on, when you haven’t: A) shelled out a ton of money for incomplete and shoddy work; b) gotten far enough down the line with the contractor to make it difficult to get out; c) driven yourself nearly batty with frustration and/or rage.”

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