A bad contractor is kind of like a bad boyfriend--he doesn’t return your calls, he acts shady when you ask him questions and he can’t commit to a date. We’ve all been there before, but the wiser we become, the quicker we are to see certain telltale signs. Here are ten red flags that say it’s time to break up with the guy who’s (supposedly) remodeling your kitchen.
He Doesn't Call You Back
A missed call is one thing, but if a contractor doesn’t get back to you in a timely matter, there’s a good chance he’s not serious about the job.
He Won't Give You a Quote in Writing or Sign a Contract
Putting job details and estimates on paper is a way to protect both you and the contractor. If he doesn’t give you what you want, you defer to the contract. If you start asking him to go above and beyond the scope of work, he defers to the contract. Anyone who’s not willing to put pen to paper doesn’t deserve to get the job.
He Asks for Payment in Full Upfront
Most states allow contractors to ask for a maximum 33 percent deposit. If yours wants more than that, he may be trying to pocket the money and run. Contractors should have enough credit to foot at least some of the bill for materials on their own and should be happy to accept the remainder of payment as major project milestones are completed.
He Won’t Commit to a Timeframe and Says He Only Works “Off” Hours
Sure, he’s probably got multiple jobs to juggle, but if he can’t organize his schedule, he may not be very good at organizing the project either. Also, working very early in the morning or super late at night might be convenient hints to a lack of professionalism. And working during odd hours could also mean he’s trying to cut corners or make shady decisions.
He’s Late or Doesn’t Show Up on the Day He Says He’s Coming
See above. If he can’t be bothered to show up on time or on the day discussed, he’s either overloaded and juggling too much at once (in which case, he’s probably not giving your project the attention it’s due) or isn’t committed enough to get the job done.
He Doesn't Have the Right Tools for the Job
You’ve drawn up a contract outlining exactly what work will be done and what materials are needed. Then he shows up without the right screwdriver? You can do better.
He Doesn’t Clearly Explain the Work That He’s Doing
It’s a contractor’s job to know all the details about the work he signed up for and be able to communicate that with you in a way that you’ll understand. If he’s vague, elusive or unwilling to thoroughly answer your questions, he could be incompetent or trying to hide something.
He Goes Rogue and Doesn’t Follow the Contract
If he starts fixing things outside the scope or appears to be buying shoddy parts and pocketing the difference, your best bet is to show him the door.
He’s Not Familiar with OSHA Guidelines
You know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Construction workers and contractors are required to follow certain safety protocol, but if your contractor plays dumb or turns a blind eye, he could be trying to nail you if anyone suffers from a sprain, strain or fall.
He Doesn’t Clean Up After the Job
In a recent survey by Invoice2go, 85 percent of participants rated cleaning up after the job as the top behavior that proved the credibility of their home renovation service provider. Hold your contractor to the same standards as your children: At the end of the day, leave the place the way you found it.