9 Tell-Tale Signs of a Bad Contractor (And How to Find a Great One)

October 26th, 2023 BY First American Roofing

So, you’ve decided to embark on a home improvement project. Whether it’s a kitchen renovation, a bathroom makeover, or a full-on house construction, one thing is for sure: you need a contractor. Finding the right one can be a daunting task, and the last thing you want is to hire a bad contractor who turns your dream project into a nightmare. But fret not! πŸ€— We’ve got your back. In this blog, we’ll explore nine tell-tale signs of a bad contractor and share some tips on how to find a great one.

What you’ll find in this read:

Want to make sure you avoid the bad apples? Start scrollin’ to see what you should avoid when interviewing a contractor.

Sign #1: They Lack Proper Licensing and Insurance 🚧

roofing company with proper credentials, not bad contractors

First things first, a reputable contractor should have all the necessary licenses and insurance in place. If they can’t provide proof of these, it’s a major red flag. Without proper licensing, you have no assurance that they meet the industry standards, and without insurance, you might be liable for any accidents that occur on your property. Always ask for copies of licenses and insurance certificates.

Sign #2: Unbelievably Low Estimates πŸ€‘

We all love a good deal, but if a contractor’s estimate seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unrealistically low bids might indicate the use of subpar materials, lack of experience, or plans to cut corners. Always get multiple quotes and compare them to get a sense of the market rate for your project. Plus, you don’t want to get an inaccurate estimate and end up having to owe money or not have enough cash.

Sign #3: No References or Portfolio πŸ“·

A good contractor should be proud of their work and eager to share it with you. If they can’t provide references or show you a portfolio of past projects, it’s a definite red flag. Ask for references and take the time to contact previous clients to inquire about their experience with the contractor.

Sign #4: Communication Woes πŸ“žπŸ’¬

bad contractor finally answers phone call from homeowner

Effective communication is key to a successful project. If your contractor is frequently unreachable, doesn’t respond to emails or calls promptly, or lacks clarity in their explanations, you’re in for trouble. Clear communication is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Sign #5: No Written Contract πŸ“

A handshake agreement just won’t cut it. A reputable contractor will provide a detailed, written contract that outlines all aspects of the project, including timelines, costs, materials, and warranties. Without a contract, you have no legal protection if things go south.

Sign #6: Dodgy Payment Requests πŸ’Έ

Beware of contractors who demand a large upfront payment before any work begins. A standard practice is to pay a reasonable deposit and then make progress payments as the project advances. If they’re constantly asking for more money without showing progress, it’s a major red flag.

Sign #7: Shoddy Workmanship πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ

This one is a no-brainer. If you notice poor craftsmanship, sloppy finishes, or shortcuts in their work, it’s time to reconsider your choice of contractor. High-quality work should be non-negotiable, and any reputable contractor will take pride in their craft.

Sign #8: Frequent Delays πŸ•°οΈ

Delays can happen due to unforeseen circumstances, but if your contractor constantly pushes back deadlines without a valid explanation, it’s a sign of poor project management. A great contractor should have a well-planned schedule and strive to meet the agreed-upon timelines.

Sign #9: Disregard for Permits and Regulations Β πŸ“œ

bad contractor who causes delays and doesn't have proper credentials

Ignoring building permits and local regulations can lead to serious trouble down the road. A bad contractor may try to cut corners by avoiding the proper paperwork and inspections. Always ensure your contractor is following all legal requirements to avoid legal and safety issues.

How to Find a Great Contractor πŸ‘

Now that we’ve covered the warning signs of a bad contractor, let’s talk about how to find a great one. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

Get a Contractor Who Has Your Back

Finding a great contractor may take some time and effort, but it’s well worth it to ensure a successful home improvement project. Remember that communication, transparency, and professionalism are key factors in identifying the right contractor for your needs. 😊

So while the search for the perfect contractor can be challenging, being aware of this bad contractors list can save you from costly mistakes. By following the tips we’ve outlined, you’ll be well-equipped to find a great contractor who will turn your dream project into a reality. And remember, you can always reach out to our experts at First American for any questions or advice. Click here to get in touch today.