In life, we all need other people to help at various times. While it’s always nice to know who we’re dealing with, there are unavoidably times when we’re forced to deal with a service contractor that we don’t know. In times like those most of us grit out teeth and hope that we’re making a wise choice but, with the proper strategy it’s possible to minimize your chances of getting ‘shafted’ by an unscrupulous construction company.
Here’s 7 tips on how to weed out bad construction companies:
Tip #1:Appearances count. Most scammer construction companies know that too and they’re hard to spot because they ‘look the part’, but there are some scammers who are new to the game and they do leave indications of their bad intent or poor qualifications of such things as (a) unprofessional attire (b) no business card (c) no markings on their vehicle… etc.. Just use your eyes and see if they look like somebody who’s successful and/or serious about doing and staying in business.
Tip #2:Have some idea of what the range of prices should be and be very wary of a ‘deal’ that sounds too good to be true. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is because all these guys operate under pretty much the same cost constraints.
Tip #3:Ask for references. 99.99% of companies should have them. Be cautious if told that ‘we just changed our name’ or ‘I’m from out-of-state and nobody around here knows me’ or something like that. It’s not your job to give newcomers a chance. Insist on several references and take the time to call them. And don’t forget to do a Google on the company and the person’s name.
Tip #4:Get everything in writing. It’s that simple. This is business and certain protocols apply. If the even any disagreement arises, you’re ‘up a creek without a paddle’ if you don’t have everything in writing. Don’t settle for any of this, ‘My word is my bond B.S. and a handshake is good enough for me’.
Tip #5:Trust your gut feelings and intuition. If you make a mistake, then most probably the company will just find another customer somewhere else. But if you go with a company that you really didn’t feel totally comfortable about to begin with… you’ve only yourself to blame for the misery you’ll suffer.
Tip #6:Always get a second opinion. Matter of fact, there’s really nothing wrong with having somebody with you who has more experience in negotiating with construction companies (assuming that’s what kind of job it is). The person you’re talking with won’t like it but even Kings have multitudes of advisors so…. two heads are better than one.
Tip #7:Always get duplicate bids. The bid is what it all comes down to. Contractors can say and promise anything but what finally makes it to ‘paper’ is what counts so that’s what you need to compare. Don’t worry about making too much work for the contractor because, if they’re any good, it’s all done on a computer anyway.
Those 7 tips, if you’ll observe and do them, should protect you from getting scammed. It happens to people every day but it shouldn’t happen to you if you’re careful.