You hear about it all the time, but just assume that it won’t happen to you. The case going on in Michigan is only one example of how terribly wrong things can go if you don’t choose the right contractor for your home improvement project. KBC, a home improvement company, is a typical home improvement contractor company that has left an abundance of defrauded investors in its wake.
Stephen Lewis, an infamous contractor, apparently made his way around Michigan taking deposits and signing contracts that he never intended to follow through with. The Better Business Bureau is one agency that is responsible for controlling for fraud and to protect the consumer, but it is not an easy task. Would-be fraudsters, however, are not easy to spot. Unfortunately, they don’t wear a beware badge, and they are very good at selling you a product that does not exist.
So what is it that you should look for when hiring a contractor? Without any set regulations for who can general contract a home improvement project, how do you know that the person you are putting your trust in is worthy of that trust? These days it requires more than just calling on references or a handshake and a smile. To ensure you are insuring your most valuable asset to the right person, it takes more legwork on your part and less faith in the profession.
Check the internet
The internet is one of the best tools you have at your disposal if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, people usually look at reviews to find out if their contractor service is a good one. Often, reviews on the internet are nothing short of paid advertising. There are a lot of contractor services that take a fee to promote their clients in a way that sounds like reviews from actual customers. Contractors who are unscrupulous have the means to make themselves sound awesome, you need to have the wherewithal to know when you are being swindled.
It takes more than just using reviews to find the truth about your contractor. What is key is knowing the owner of the business. If your contractor has done something not so great in the past perhaps when fixing up a Winnipeg house for sale, likely they have changed their name or incorporated themselves under a different LLC. That means you have to look into the owner and operator, not rely on reviews of the company itself. There are cases when contractors will buy another company and inherit their name as well. If you read a review from before the company has been taken over, that will do nothing to give you the information you need.
Use the owner’s name plus other keywords
The key to finding out about your contractor is using their physical name along with other crucial keywords. Using words like “fraud, criminal, complaints, debt” or even “bankruptcies” are all good ways to find things that may not come up from a general organic search of the owner’s name. Adding those things that you hope the name isn’t associated with will rule out anything he may have done in his past.
Check with your local building department
It is always best to hire someone who operates within your locale and has an established reputation. Not only will you be assured that he or she knows the building codes, but you will also likely find people who have worked with him or building and zoning people who can tell you how credible they are and what their reputation is within the industry. If you want to find a good contractor, going to their local building and zoning office and asking around is an excellent way to find out who you can trust and what other industry professionals think about who you are hiring.
Your home is one of the biggest investments you have in your life. Don’t take a chance of being taken advantage of when it comes to updating or remodeling. Make sure to do your homework and investigate anyone who you are going to trust around your house. It isn’t just that you want to ensure they have the necessary skills, you also want to make sure that they are worthy of your trust personally.