It’s the most wonderful time of the year, spring time combined with tax season (for those of you who were lucky to get a return this year). The American consumer is often eager to spend their newfound windfall on long awaited projects and improvements. Sadly, even after poring over multiple YouTube tutorials and reality DIY shows on HGTV, the majority of us lack the skills, coordination, time, etc. to complete these projects ourselves. Cue the search for a contractor to do the work for you, because what is more patriotic than delegating work to someone else?
All too often when scrolling through Facebook I see posts about people warning other social media users off a certain construction company. The names are often different, but the scenarios track each other almost exactly, a homeowner thought they were getting a great deal on a home improvement, but the contractor either did a terrible job, failed to complete the job, or took the homeowner’s money and hit the road. So what can you do to protect yourself from these scam artists?
- Look up the business entity through the secretary of state website. Is the business registered?
- Carefully search for reviews from other consumers. Don’t just look at the star rating, look at the substance of the review and who is doing the reviewing. Joe Blow may have asked his family and friends to help bolster his business.
- Ask to see photos of other work the contractor has performed, and reverse image search those projects on google to ensure the work was not actually performed by someone else.
- Ask the contractor to provide proof of an insurance policy for their business and take down the information. Contact the insurance to provider to confirm the worker is actually insured.
- Have the contractor provide proof of an independent contractor certificate. If the contractor is a bona fide independent contractor, they will be all too familiar with the independent contractor process and should have a certificate and card readily available to show an interested party.
Once you choose a contractor – get the scope of work and terms of payment in writing.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it is a good start to protecting yourself from a financial nightmare. Are you seeing this post too late? Have the words buyer beware been uttered like a mantra to you? Contact Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP today to set up a consultation. The attorneys at this firm are well versed in looking for potential avenues to go after contractors that may seem judgment proof and will provide up front and honest advice about the potential for success of your claims should they proceed to litigation.