How to Avoid Contractor Scams Targeting Hurricane Victims

Fly-by-night contractors often swoop in after severe weather and take advantage of desperate homeowners seeking help.

So, if you need to hire a contractor, how can you find one you can trust?

Use these suggestions now — from finding the contractor to meeting them and handling financial transactions — and avoid regrets later.

1. Find a Reputable Contractor Who Can Get the Job Done

Ask for references from previous clients and contact them. Call friends and family for referrals. Your local Home Builders Association is another great resource for qualified contractors. Thoroughly research the contractor you’re considering and verify that he or she routinely does the type of work that you need.

2. Know the Red Flags — and Stay Away

Ensure the contractor you’re considering has a physical office/place of business. And avoid contractors with poor personal appearance, shoddy tools, filthy or broken equipment and vehicles in poor condition.
Don’t be lured by deeply discounted materials or “secret” deals; this is a telltale sign of a scam.
And pay attention to the estimating process — is the contractor taking measurements? Making notes? If not, he or she isn’t the right contractor for you.

3. Pay Attention to the Payments

The standard is to pay 10-20 percent initially to get a job going. If your contractor demands a large upfront payment, walk away. And don’t agree to pay anyone in cash — establish a written agreement and stick to it.
Be the boss and stay in the know — ask questions and monitor the job. Take notes and photos along the way.
Deliver the final check only after a thorough walk-through. Your wallet is your leverage!

Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford is among the country’s most sought-after home improvement experts.
The seasoned remodeling contractor and media personality served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s “The Early Show” and The Weather Channel for over a decade and has made more than 180 national television appearances on “Fox & Friends,” “Inside Edition,” “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Fox Business Channel, Rachael Ray and more.
He travels the country making appearances as a brand ambassador and spokesperson, and each year contributes expertise to hundreds of popular magazines and online media outlets.


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