Remodeling & Finances


The vast majority of building and remodeling contractors are honest, hardworking, contentious people who take a great deal of pride in their work. Unfortunately, like any profession, it can only take a few bad apples to give everyone a bad name.  At least a few times a month, especially during the summer when many homeowners decide to go ahead with remodeling projects, there is something on the local news about the latest contractor scams and how families get taken for a lot of money. Many of the con-artists in this field stick with one of these tried and true methods for separating homeowners from their hard-earned cash. The following tips should help keep your project from being the featured story on the local news:

Up-front Payments

It’s not unusual for a contractor to ask for up-front payment before beginning a job.  However, it should only be a small percentage of the total cost, 10% at the very most. If a contractor asks for a larger percentage before the job starts it might be a sign that they are not financially stable.

Read the Contract

When a contractor works on your home there should be a written contract.  It should also have an attached scope of work.  This provides the exact detail included in their quote.  Did you expect three light fixtures in a certain price range?  If not, you may have purchased a lesser quality.

Project Changes

Rarely a project goes from start to finish without at least a few changes.  Some changes cause more work or material costs known as extras.  This should be spelled out in the contract so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.  However, it’s more important that the customer be told the cost before the actual work is done when the final bill is presented.

Proper Credentials

Insist that your contractor have a license and insurance.  You could be liable should anyone get hurt on the job.  Your homeowner’s insurance may not cover damages to your home.  The price-break is just not worth it.  If your contractor says they can do the job for less due to not having a license or insurance, the conversation should stop right there.

Avoid Rip-off Artists

Beware of a contractor who refuses to give you a copy of his license and insurance.  By following a few simple tips, you can avoid the chances of getting taken.  Rip off artists will try to sway you with these tactics.  They can’t verify any provided references; tempt you with a low price that’s only good if you sign today; asks you to pay for materials that haven’t arrived; offers to cut you a deal if you pay with cash; will give you a rebate if we use your house as a model; you have to pay for the work permits.