Working with an unprofessional contractor can cause a plethora of headaches. From bad budgeting to poor workmanship to a general lack of professionalism, you’re liable to have your hands full when dealing with a contractor who doesn’t know what they’re doing. That being the case, you should always put your best foot forward when it comes time to find a dependable contractor. In the interest of minimizing your odds of giving your business to the wrong contractor, be mindful of the following qualities.
They Don’t Have a License
A lack of a license is arguably the largest red flag a contractor can project. If someone is unable and/or unwilling to put forth the time and effort to get licensed by your state’s board of contractors, it stands to reason that they’re neither dedicated to their profession nor particularly skilled at it. Furthermore, since the requirements for licensing vary from state to state, a contractor possessing a license to practice in a different state doesn’t mean that they’re licensed to practice in yours.
Unlike their licensed contemporaries, unlicensed contractors have virtually no incentive to maintain a certain level of professionalism in their work and general conduct. After all, if they were never licensed to begin with, there isn’t much they stand to lose. Furthermore, when working with unlicensed contractors, you’re more likely to get inaccurate quotes, deal with constant headaches and find yourself left with jobs that aren’t entirely finished. In fact, in the wake of hiring an unlicensed contractor, you may ultimately need to enlist the services of a licensed contractor in order to correct a host of mistakes.
Additionally, licensed contractors are easily able to pull certain permits from municipalities. Undertaking certain jobs without the necessary permits can land you in considerable trouble and result in severe fines. Fortunately, licensed contractors can obtain various permits in a timely, hassle-free manner in cities and townships that utilize convenient municipal software.
It should also be noted that unlicensed contractors are far less likely to offer guarantees on their work than individuals who are licensed. When it comes to guaranteeing their work, many licensed contractors are bound by state laws. However, since unlicensed contractors generally have no regard for such laws, you’re unlikely to receive any sort of guarantee when hiring them – and even if you do, you have no way of knowing if they’ll actually honor it.
So, before giving a contractor your business, request to see proof of licensing. If the individual in question expresses extreme apprehension or reveals that they’re unlicensed, it’s best to abstain from working with them.
Just as you should avoid working with contractors who are unlicensed, so too should you steer clear of contractors who are uninsured. At minimum, any contractor you work with should have general liability, automobile and workers compensation insurance. This will help ensure that you don’t become financially responsible for repairing any damage they do or wind up footing the medical bills for any injuries they incur while in your employ. So, prior to making any commitments, take care to ask for proof of insurance.
They Have Poor Customer Feedback
Nearly every contractor you come across is going to have a bad review or two. And while it’s certainly important to take every opinion into account, some dissatisfied patrons are largely to blame for grievances they project onto contractors. However, should you notice that the online feedback for a certain contractor is overwhelmingly negative, this should probably be taken as an indication that working with this person is unwise.
Fortunately for consumers, there’s no shortage of ways to find feedback for contractors on the web. Between consumer feedback sites, online business directories and social media outlets, there are ample platforms through which patrons are able to make their satisfaction or displeasure known.
At some point or another, all of us have made unwise decisions as consumers. Given how many businesses the average person frequents on a daily basis, it’s only natural that we’d occasionally provide the wrong people with our patronage. However, in light of how much money is involved with large-scale repairs and renovations, it’s in every savvy consumer’s best interest to exercise the utmost discernment when choosing a contractor. Anyone determined to avoid doing business with a dishonest, unskilled or unprofessional contractor would do well to keep an eye out for the qualities discussed above.