With alarming regularity the media reports of home improvement scams occurring in one community after another. You undoubtedly have heard tales of people falling victim to different types of home improvement scams. Indeed, each and every day intelligent people become victims of home improvement scams. There are five key tips and tactics to bear in mind to assist you in falling prey to a home improvement scammer.
Do Due Diligence
The most crucial to bear in mind to avoid a home improvement scam is to do due diligence before you hire a contractor. Certainly, if someone comes to your door with some type of home improvement “deal” that seems to good to be true, never “sign up” on the spot. A deeper discussion of door-to-door home improvement solicitations follows shortly.
The breadth of due diligence that must occur before retaining the services of any home improvement contractor must include:
- obtaining and contacting references
- verification of licensing, insurance, and bonding
- check with Better Business Bureau
A part of due diligence should also include obtaining references from family, friends, and colleagues who’ve engage the services of the type of home improvement contractor you now consider engaging. Odds are that you have people in your life who’ve retained the services of the type of home improvement contractor you currently may need.
Research the Ins and Outs of a Specific Home Improvement Project
Another important step that you need to take to protect yourself from a home improvement scam is to undertake research on the project you want to undertake. Although you may not have the skill set or desire to do a home improvement project yourself, by educating yourself on how a specific project is undertaken you put yourself in a better position of understanding if a prospective contractor is being aboveboard with you.
Beware of Door-to-Door Solicitations
As noted above, there are instances in which a so-called home improvement contractor seeks business by going door-to-door. Generally speaking, such a person or company should be avoided.
These types of solicitations are more common place in the aftermath of an event like a severe storm. Businesses holding themselves out as bona fide roof contractors may work your neighborhood seeking to be hired. While absolutely statements typically are best avoided, a fair statement is that a considerable percentage of people pounding the pavement in this manner may prove to not be the most reputable folks around. Indeed, this door-to-door tactic is adopted by a good many scammers, including in the aftermath of a major weather event.
Pay Close Attention to Payment Arrangements
Another signal that a prospective home improvement contractor may not be on the up-and-up is a situation in which full payment upfront is requested or required. Experienced, reliable, and reputable home improvement contractors typically do not employ this type of payment scheme.
A typical payment structure used by reputable home improvement contracts typically includes a deposit of between 25 and 33 percent. There are then agreed milestone payments along the way. A final payment is not tendered until you have the opportunity to fully inspect and accept the work undertaken by a contractor.
Check the Warranty
Another tip to bear in mind involves checking any proposed warranty. Scammers oftentimes entice targets with what seem to be amazing warranties for different types of home improvement projects. You absolutely must directly and independently verify such a purported warranty before engaging the services of a home improvement contractor.
By employing these tips and tactics you will best protect yourself against becoming the victim of some sort of home improvement scam. In addition, these suggestions not only will assist in preventing you from becoming victimized but will also ensure that you retain the services of the best possible home improvement contractor for your specific project.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.