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Hiring a Contractor? Don’t Ignore These 10 Red Flags


He is the best carpenter in town

When it comes to hiring a contractor, there are 10 red flags you don’t want to ignore. Of course, renovating anything in your home can be a major hassle, but don’t make matters worse by working with someone who is not professional. Here are some things to watch for:

  1. He or She Doesn’t Call You Back
    When a contractor doesn’t get back to you in a timely matter, there’s a good chance he’s not serious about the job.

  2. He or She Won’t Put Estimates in Writing
    Be sure to protect yourself by getting the details of the project in writing and having both parties agree. That way, if the job is not going the way you want, you can defer to the original contract. Anyone who’s not willing to put pen to paper doesn’t deserve to get the job.

    READ: How to Hire a Competent Realtor: Consider Their Use of Technology

  1. He or She Asks for Payment in Full Upfront
    In the state of California, contractors are only allowed to ask for 10% payment up front. The state says contractors should have enough credit to foot at least some of the bill for materials and should be happy to accept the remainder of payment as major project milestones are completed.
  1. He or She Won’t Commit to a Time Frame
    If he or she won’t commit to a reasonable time frame, the person is probably not very good at organization. If the contractor insists on working during odd hours, that could mean corners are being cut or shady decisions are being made.

    READ: Tree Trimming: 10 questions to ask before hiring a professional tree trimmer

  1. He or She is Late or Doesn’t Show Up
    Is the contractor overloaded? Juggling too much at once? Whatever the reason, it’s not your issue when a contractor is late. Leaves me to wonder, is he or she committed enough to get the job done?

    ‪6. He or She Doesn’t Have the Right Tools
    You’ve drawn up a contract outlining exactly what work will be done and what materials are needed. Then your contractor shows up without the right screwdriver? Nope!

  1. Doesn’t Clearly Explain What He or She is Doing
    Your contractor should know all the details about the work agreed to and be able to communicate that with you in a way you’ll understand. If he or she is vague, elusive or unwilling to thoroughly answer your questions, it could point to incompetence or trying to hide something.

    READ: Home Improvement: Repair, Remodel or Renovate?

  1. He or She Goes Rogue and Doesn’t Follow the Contract
    Show him or her the door if he or she starts fixing things outside the original scope agreed upon, or appears to be using questionable parts and materials.
  1. He or She is Not Familiar with OSHA Guidelines
    Contractors are required to follow certain safety protocol from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Don’t work with a contractor who plays dumb or turns a blind eye.
  1. He or She Doesn’t Clean Up After the Job
    In a recent survey by Invoice2go, 85% of participants rated cleaning up after the job one of the important ways a contractor can prove credibility.

Are you hiring a contractor? Before you do anything, check this infographic detailing red flags to look out for when hiring a home contractor.

Being in the industry for more than 25 years gives me access to the best contractors in Santa Barbara County. I am happy to share them with you and promise if you work with them, you will not see any of the 10 red flags mentioned above.

If you’re thinking about moving to Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, or are considering selling your home here, just pull up my site and call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Meantime, please bookmark my website for quick access.


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