Contractor Red Flags
Before you hire a contractor, make sure to check out his or her references. Word of mouth is a strong selling point for contractors looking for repeat business and new business. Reputable contractors will be more than happy to provide you with a list of references from those who were satisfied with the work the contractor did.
A huge red flag to look out for is a demand for the payment upfront. You should never pay for the work until the job is done and you are satisfied with the completed project. Some contractors may ask for an upfront payment, but reputable and trustworthy contractors will never ask for the full amount upfront. Also beware of contractors asking for only cash payments — this leaves no proof of the payment, and you will not be able to get your money back if the project isn't completed or done to your liking.
Just because a contractor is offering you a low price for the work doesn't mean the work will be of good quality. Make sure to do research so you know at least a ballpark figure for what you'll be paying, so that you will be able to gauge whether the price offered is too low for high-quality work.
No Proof of Insurance
Contractors should always carry personal liability and property damage insurance. If the contractor you hire fails to have insurance, you will be liable for any property damage or injury that occurs on the job site.
No License in Your State or Area
Licensing qualifications vary by state and local area, so it's important to make sure that the contractor is licensed to work in your state and your area. Check out your local building department to learn more about the specific licensing requirements needed in your state and local area.
Refusal to Provide a Bid
If the contractor will not provide a bid in writing that outlines the cost of labor and materials, timelines, payment terms and a detailed description of the work to be done, then run — fast! This means that after the work has been completed, you may end up being charged much more than you should be. Make sure to get a bid in writing before you hire the contractor to do the work.
Hiring the right contractor may take a lot of research, but you will be glad you took the time to look up the facts before hiring anyone. The best place to start looking for a contractor is to reach out to family and friends to see whom they have used and what their experiences were.