There are some key warning signs and tips when dealing with a general contractor.
The contractor asks for the entire amount of money up front. While this may seem like common sense, this happens quite frequently. This could mean that the contractor is going to take the money and walk away without doing any of the work. It could also mean that the company doesn’t have the financial ability to purchase the materials and pay for the labor. We recommend you never pay the full amount down as there is just about no legitimate reason this could be necessary.
The contractor has no ID. If the contractor doesn’t have a shirt or any signage or literature with his company name or logo this is a warning sign to investigate. There should be something tying this individual to the company he represents.
The contractor wants the check made out to himpersonally. This happens more frequently than you probably imagine, but never make out a check to contractor personally. When in doubt, call into the company’s office and ask for the standard procedure on payment. Even if the contractor himself takes the money and leaves, the company involved as provided a service and haven’t been paid and it can be difficult to prove this is what happened. Never make write a check to a contractor personally.
Secure your valuables. if a company is doing work inside of your home it is always a good idea to secure any valuables that someone might be able to steal. Regardless of how big the company is it’s always better to play it safe, if people are unsupervised in your home there’s no telling what they think they might get away with. If it’s going to be an extended project or remodel it’s also a good idea to inventory and photograph any valuables so that you have proof if something does happen.
We don’t really need to pull a permit. If the contractor glosses over or dismisses seemingly important protocols you may need to do some research, or reconsider doing business. Depending on the location and type of work certain permits might be required by the city to perform those services. The fact that they disregard these requirements might indicate they will disregard other important aspects of performing the job you have hired them for. If a contractor is willing to be less than honest in any area of their work what says they wont be dishonest with you, or provide less than what you have agreed upon?