How to spot an unlicensed contractor

If you read the newspapers or watched the evening news you’ve probably seen countless special reports exposing unlicensed contractors around the area. While this is  certainly bad news for homeowners, it actually does even more damage because it makes people  suspect the legitimate contractors! We’ve talked what you need to know to hire a good contractor, but there’s one question we haven’t answered yet – how do you spot a Bad contractor?

At first glance, even bad contractors will look normal – they’ll probably wear uniforms  and may even be driving a vehicle with a company name and logo on it. Once you start talking to them, however, it will quickly become clear whether the contractor you’re speaking to is trustworthy or not. Here are some warning signs to be on the lookout for:

They randomly show up at your home n the morning  a contractor will almost never turn up at your house without you calling them. If you get someone knocking on your door claiming they were “in the neighborhood” and telling you your house looks like it could use a little work, politely decline – unless they’re capable of performing home inspections from inside their truck, you might be in for an All American Scam!
They use high pressure sales tactics – reliable HVAC repair companies will post their HVAC specials, either on their website or in the form of printed coupons. HVAC contractors who pressure you into buying something quickly, or tell you if you “act now you’ll get a special price” are trying  to spend as little time with you as possible – and get as much out of you as they can. A reliable contractor will give you an estimate, then let you shop around for other quotes and come back when you’re ready.

They can’t provide references from previous clients – obviously, scammers can’t give you referrals from previous clients if they don’t have any previous clients! Remember, one of the best ways to figure out if a contractor is trustworthy or not is to ask about people’s previous experiences with the contractor. So naturally, if they have no previous customers, this is a warning sign to stay away!

They request a down payment without a written contract – this one should go without saying, but if you don’t see a legal contract, don’t hand over any money! If you do, you have no recourse when the contractor never comes back!

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