It seems like nearly everyone who works with contractors on a consistent basis has at least a few horror stories to tell. As is the case with other self-employed professionals, contractors can be a mixed bag. Whereas good contractors can carry out complex renovations in a timely and expert manner, bad ones can facilitate immense stress and financial strain. Given how much large-scale renovations are likely to run you, it’s only natural that you’d want to have a good experience the next time you need to hire a contractor. To help ensure that you wind up with the right person, take care to study up on some of the most common reasons for which people have bad experiences with contractors.
Lack of Licensing, Certification or Registration
In many states, contractors are required to be licensed, certified or registered in order to legally practice their craft. So, if a contractor possesses the proper licensing, certification or registration to operate in your state, this indicates a high level of skill and professionalism. Conversely, if a contractor is operating without a license, this should be taken as a sign that they aren’t confident enough in their abilities to pursue licensing.
To say that a lot can go wrong when working with an unlicensed contractor would be an understatement. To start with, unlicensed contractors are liable to have trouble pulling certain permits, especially in states, cities and townships that utilize advanced municipal software. Secondly, since unlicensed contractors don’t risk losing licenses they never possessed to begin with, they have little incentive to put forth their best effort, avoid overpromising or guarantee their work. Furthermore, if an unlicensed contractor walks away from a job before it’s complete, you may have to call in a licensed contractor to clean up their mess.
So, even if you’re tempted by the comparatively low rates many unlicensed contractors offer, saving a little bit of money isn’t worth all the headaches you’re likely to suffer when working with them. Additionally, depending on the quality of their work, you may ultimately discover that you got what you paid for.
Lack of Insurance
Working with uninsured contractors is quite a gamble – one that’s unlikely to work out in your favor. Should you decide to hire contractors who lack proper insurance, you may wind up having to pay any medical bills stemming from on-the-job injuries, as well as repairs bulls stemming from any damage they cause to your property. Depending on the nature of the injuries and the extent of the damage, taking a chance on uninsured contractors can cost you a small fortune. To limit your chances of dealing with such problems, make sure that any contractor with whom you do business is covered under professional liability, general liability, worker’s compensation, commercial auto, inland marine and business owner’s policies.
Lack of Budget
Contractor labor generally doesn’t come cheap. Depending on how ambitious a project is, you could easily be looking at a bill of tens of thousands. This is among the reasons it’s important to obtain estimates from multiple contractors before beginning work. These estimates will provide you with a solid idea of how much the project will cost, thereby enabling you to budget accordingly.
You should also keep in mind that estimates aren’t always flawless indicators of what the final cost will be. Throughout the course of a project, any number of things can go wrong, facilitating the need for additional funds. That being the case, it’s generally a good idea to set some money aside for unforeseen snags.
Should you decide to commence work on a project without sufficient funds on hand, work is likely to grind to a halt the instant you run out of money. After all, if you can’t afford to pay contractors for their services, there’s no reason to expect them to stick around. So, unless you want to be left with a partially-finished project, make sure you have enough funds in place before giving contractors the go-ahead to begin their work.
Having a bad experience with a contractor can be an intensely stressful, frustrating and costly experience. Hiring the wrong person for important repairs/renovations can result in subpar work, constant headaches and endless delays. So, if you’re looking to avoid such an experience, make sure to do your homework the next time you find yourself in need of a contractor.