Buyer Beware Fly-by-Night Contractors

There are plenty of contractors out there that will tell you what you want to hear — they have an unbelievably low price, they’ll do a great job for you and you’ll be a happy customer. Wouldn’t it be awesome if that was always true?

It’s not.

I often hear customers tell me that they spoke with a contractor who told them, “whatever you have received so far in quotes I will meet or beat.”

Be careful.

I once went with a guy like that to do some concrete work for stairs on the back of my house. He came as a referral from one of my customers who had used him for a small concrete sidewalk job. He was the cheapest contractor and he wanted half down ($1700) which is industry standard, and the other half was due upon completion. Over the next 3 weeks he busted up my concrete patio and hauled away a few loads of rubble. Then it snowed, he turned off his cell phone and moved so serving him with papers for a lawsuit was not even possible. It’s was expensive decision I still regret but as a business owner it has helped to form my opinions on how not to run a business.

In todays market anyone who owns a truck and a ladder is happy to tell you they’re a contractor. Can they do the work? Possibly. Will you be happy? That is unknown. Is their price the lowest? Probably. Someone without the proper licenses or insurance will be cheaper than legitimate businesses.

Still other contractors will come out to your house, count your windows and look at your gutters or siding and hand you an estimate even before they have finished their cigarette. In the end you don’t really understand what you’ll be receiving but these drive-by estimators will always tell you they’re the cheapest.

You have to decide if the risk is worth it.

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