Contractor Red Flags: Choosing the Right Contractor
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Contractor Red Flags: Choosing the Right Contractor

Jul 22, 2020
Contractors

There comes a day when every homeowner seeks professional help to improve their home. It can be hard to give up control of property to a stranger, but don’t let this process scare you. Many home improvement contractors are honorable and talented tradespeople who work hard to improve your home. There are still some unsavory people to watch out for, but fear not. With our help you’ll be able to spot contractor red flags and find a service right for your next home improvement project.

The following links will allow you to skip to specific sections to ensure you find what you’re looking for:

How to Find a Contractor

Computer Search for Contractors

When it comes to finding a contractor, many people enjoy listening to referrals from their friends and family. Praise from a trusted source goes a long way in the decision-making process as it provides a firsthand insight on the contractor’s quality of work. If your friends and family have no recommendations, it’s time to hit the internet.

The internet contains a wealth of websites containing information on various home improvement contractors near you. From the classic Better Business Bureau to the more contemporary Google Reviews, reviews and ratings from numerous customers sit just a click away. These reviews explain how the contractors operate, so you can tell if they’re a good fit for your next project. It’s important to know who you’re hiring before they step foot in your home.

Important Questions to Ask Contractors

magnifying glass

If you find reviews and ratings to be too general and vague or you just want more information, contact the contractor and ask them questions. Any contractor should happily answer questions from a prospective customer. However, make sure your questions are the right questions. The following topics will allow you to draft questions which will test the effectiveness of a contractor.

Contractor References

If you’re talking to a contractor directly, you were probably were unsatisfied by the detail and content of their reviews found online. Ask the contractor if they can provide references and examples of their work. If a contractor can’t come up with a few instances of a job well done, you know they’re not worth your time.

Contractor Licensing and Insurance

Licensed and Insured Contractors

Make sure the contractor is properly licensed and insured. This may be obvious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want your home in the care of someone who has little to know knowledge on home improvement. Verify your contractor’s credentials for some peace of mind.

Home Improvement Safety

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires certification for contractors providing renovation, repair, and painting projects which can disturb lead-based paint. These activities could create hazardous dust and lead chips which may harm you and anyone living in or working on your home.

While this might seem frightening, professional renovators are typically equipped to deal with these situations. Make sure your home improvement contractor knows how to handle lead and has a certification in the area. It’s important for all homeowners to ensure the safety of both themselves and their homes before commencing an improvement project.

Contractor Warranties

It’s important to know what the contractor offers as a warranty. Will they replace any faulty equipment or repair any breaks? Most contractors work to maintain brand loyalty and a positive reputation by offering comprehensive warranties covering the worked-on area of the home, but some contractors could be looking to make a quick buck with no intention of repair or coverage. Make sure you know what the warranty will be and how long this warranty will last.

Contractor Communication

A speech bubble communicating

When asking these questions, take note of how the contractor (or the representative of the contractor) responds. Are they friendly and understanding of a potential customer who wants the best possible option or are they annoyed and off-putting?

Customer service and satisfaction is an extremely important aspect of the home improvement industry. If a contractor’s rude before they even get paid, the situation will not improve. Support a contractor who recognizes and understands your needs.

How To Spot a Good Contractor

If you’re still wondering how a good contractor presents themselves, refer to this list, which sums up our guidance, during your search.

  • Knowledgeable
  • Prioritizes Safety
  • Is licensed and insured
  • Answers questions openly and honestly
  • Has a fair and comprehensive warranty
  • Respectful

Signs of a Bad Contractor

Red Flag

Bad Contractors can ruin moods and homes. We’ve already discussed lack of qualifications and rudeness, but there are more contractor red flags to watch out for. 

Contractors That Show Up Late

While a contractor shouldn’t be late, life often ruins plans. A contractor who knows they’ll be late should contact their customers. Failing to call ahead is one of the huge contractor red flags.

In order for a home improvement job to work, a mutual bond of respect must exist. The homeowner will likely choose a contractor who they trust and a contractor should live up to these expectations. Unannounced lateness shows a complete lack of regard towards the homeowner’s time and feelings.

Shady Contractors

A homeowner should know what is being done for their home. A contractor unwilling to show their product is another contractor red flag. Any home improvement specialist should have pride and confidence in their equipment. Most contractors would be happy to display their product and its uses. No homeowner should tolerate secrecy.

Written Warranties and Estimates

This principal of no secrecy also applies to the estimate and warranty of the project. It’s easier for both sides if all business deals are made clear in writing.

If a contractor fails to provide a written and detailed estimate, they cannot be trusted with your home. If your contractor will not show you a written warranty guaranteeing the promised arrangement, they cannot be trusted with your home. A contractor needs to be upfront about costs and maintenance. Homeowners have a right to know how much they’re going to spend and how their home will be covered.

Some contractors think they can swindle homeowners with shady deals and vague promises, so make sure you have their words in writing. Any contractor who tries to take advantage of the homeowner is a danger to the trade and a waste of time and money.

The AWS Benefit

Advanced Window Systems

Advanced Window Systems, LLC puts the customer first when it comes to home improvement. We’re a family-owned business which believes in truly helping the customer achieve the best for their home needs. We offer a lifetime warranty on all installations to make sure our customers our happy and satisfied.

Advanaced Window Systems Warranty

Our Better Business Bureau and Google Review pages show our dedication when it comes to customer service.

Home Improvement can be a fun and rewarding process, provided you have the right contractor. Now that you know these contractor red flags, you can finally start your search!

Advanced Window Systems, LLC is happy to help with all your home improvement needs. Contact us at 1-800-CALL-AWS to schedule a free in-home estimate today. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter too!

Written by Alex Buonocore