3 Red Flags to Watch for When Hiring a Construction Contractor

When you hire a contractor, you put a lot of trust in him or her to do a good job. You rely on their expertise to ensure that the job is done right and will last for years to come. Many people do not have enough experience or know-how to realize when a job is done poorly, until something obviously breaks or leaks, sometimes long-after a construction contractor has left the site and been paid in full. That means that you need to take extra care to hire someone that will do good work for you.

Below are just a few warning signs that could indicate that a construction contractor may not be a good option for your job. If any of these issues arise, you may want to look elsewhere to get your job done.

1. A contractor requires a 100% up-front payment for the job.

Contractors may require that you make a partial payment upfront before they start work. Many contractors use these funds to purchase the necessary supplies for your job. However, if the contractor requires a significant up-front payment (more than half) or all of the fee upfront, that could be a sign that they want the option to never start work, skip out on the job, or may not be very good at their craft. You should also be wary of those who will only accept cash payments as well. 

2. The contractor cannot provide any references.

Most contractors who have experience and happy previous customers will be able to provide you with references of jobs well done in the past. Be sure to ask for references when you are shopping around for a contractor. If a contractor does not give you references when asked or gives you numbers that lead you nowhere or provides names that you cannot contact, those are all big red flags regarding a contractor’s work and credibility. 

Online reviews can also be very helpful references as well. Even if a contractor only operates under his or her name, you can often do a quick online search to look for complaints or other issues.

3. The contractor has no insurance or asks you to get permits yourself.

Most contractors should have general liability insurance. This type of insurance protects them if they harm your property or if one of their workers is hurt on the job. If they do not have this type of insurance, you could be on the hook for their injuries.

If a contractor will not do the permit work for you, that could also be a sign that they are not properly licensed or insured. Generally, you should not have to do your own permit work when you hire a contractor for a job.

While these three red flags are big ones, you should also go with your “gut” when it comes to contractors. If you are having trouble contacting them, it seems like what they are saying is a bit off, or you are uncomfortable for any reason, look elsewhere. If you do run into issues, the team at Adler Law Firm can be a great resource for what you should do next. Contact us today for more information.

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Adler Law, A P.C.

Robert Adler is a sole practitioner who has spent over three decades protecting the rights of construction, real estate, business litigation, and personal injury clients throughout Calabasas, California—and beyond.

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