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How to avoid getting scammed by contractors

Updated: May 18, 2023

Homeowners love to glamour and improve their homes, and, in some cases, they would need a team of contractors to do the work for them, letting the professionals handle it. The first step is to choose a trustworthy contractor. Doing the job for you is a scam, and you'll end up worse off. A lousy contractor may undertake sloppy work, damage your property or overcharge you. They may even simply take your money without providing any services. Learn the warning signs of home renovation fraud before engaging a contractor.

Look for a State-Licensed Contractor

The business cards and written proposals of repair contractors should include their license numbers. Allowing unlicensed and uninsured contractors, workers, and subcontractors to work on your house puts you at risk. Damages to your home or unfinished work by contractors without qualifications may not be covered by your homeowner's insurance. It's not worth getting a price cut for not having a license.

Gather References

Ask for a list of recent customers and call those consumers to inquire about their experience with a contractor. In addition, looking up a contractor's reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and other review sites might be beneficial.

Get Multiple Bids

To guarantee you're receiving a fair price, obtain many quotes. You should be wary of an offer so cheap in comparison to the rest of the field that it just doesn't seem right. Some dishonest contractors may purposefully "underbid" the project's actual cost to get a contract. It's very uncommon for builders to seek out additional fees after the building has begun.

Have the Price and Scope of Work in Written Form

Never allow a contractor to begin work without a signed, written proposal outlining both the cost and the scope of the project. Don't sign a contract for a "new roof" if that's all it says. If it's just shingles, make it clear. How much will it cost for each board if the damage is detected after the work has begun?

Never Pay for The Whole Project Immediately

A discount doesn't mean you should pay for a project in full up the advance. Never pay a progress payment before the agreed-upon payment schedule. Even if you get a discount, it is generally not good to pay cash. You'll be able to verify your payments if you use a credit card or cheque.

“Notice to Owners” Signage to Lookout For

Subcontractors and material suppliers are often used by general contractors to do particular tasks. These vendors and subcontractors will usually send a "Notice to Owner." To let you know that your contractor has engaged them to do work on your house, they've sent you a notification. As you pay your contractor, be sure to verify that the suppliers have indeed received their payments.


There are a lot of industrious, contentious, and honest contractors in the construction and renovation industry. Only a few rotten apples may ruin the reputation of a whole profession. Many con artists in this industry adhere to tried and tested ways to steal from homeowners.


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