Undertaking a home renovation is stressful, even with the best contractors. Unfortunately, not all are trustworthy and many homeowners are scammed.
In 2016, more than 32,000 scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). On average, homeowners lost $1,400 from shady contractors, painters and repairmen, according to the BBB.
- Verify the contractor’s license, insurance and at least three references. Make sure you ask for the contractor’s license number upfront. With this information, you can verify the license with your state. Also, ask for at least three references. Even a scammer may have had a couple projects go well in the past, so getting many references reduces the likelihood you’re dealing with one.
- Ensure the contractor is an active member of a reputable industry organization. Vendors who are part of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and/or the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) must undergo a certain level of scrutiny to join, plus they pledge to uphold a code of ethics. This also demonstrates a level of commitment to their business and the industry as a whole.
- Check the contractor’s reputation online. Even if you check a contractor out online, don’t be satisfied with a quick Google search. Make sure you look for news articles, read reviews and ask neighbors on sites like Nextdoor.com. Also, search the name of the company, the address, the owner and any other employees you meet.
Reprinted with permission from CRS Your Home newsletter Nov/Dec 2017