Home Improvement: Signs Your Contractor Could Be Scamming You

Home Improvement: Signs Your Contractor Could Be Scamming You


So, you’ve hired a contractor to do work on your home, and everything has seemed okay so far. However, now there are weird signs that this could actually be a scam, and you’re worried. Things aren’t quite right. What do you do? Here are some top signals that your contractor is actually trying to scam you.

Asking You to Pull the Permits

If your contractor has asked you to pull the permits for the work yourself, odds are good this person isn’t licensed. Whether they simply haven’t been licensed at all or have had their license revoked, the end result is the same: They shouldn’t be doing work on your home.

Some contractors will dress this up, saying you can save money by pulling the permits yourself. Don’t do it. If a contractor asks you to do this, terminate the interaction. It’s evidence of an unprofessional working relationship that you don’t want to get caught up in. Whoever pulls the permits can be on the hook for any work that is done, and you don’t want to be holding the bag for an unlicensed contractor.

Vague Agreements and Suspiciously Low Quotes

If your contractor agreed to a low initial cost for the work in an informal setting, such as by writing the price on the back of a business card or just through a verbal agreement, they could be stringing you along. For example, as the project goes on, you may notice the work is shoddy and ask for things to be shored up. The contractor tells you that they can do it, but it’ll cost extra.

Make sure you get everything in writing before the work begins. If the agreements are vague and the final price is informally decided on, then you could be in the middle of an ongoing scam that’ll cost you big time by the end.

Asking for More

If the contractor is constantly asking for more money and threatening to quit the job or put a lien on your property if you don’t pay up, then they’re almost certainly scamming you. Before any project begins, get in writing that any additional charges will only be considered with an official change order. With this stipulation, contractors can’t legally put a lien on your property, thus warding off potential scammers and keeping your home renovations and repairs firmly on the up-and-up.