Monday, February 9, 2015

Tips On Not Being Scammed by a Contractor

"Hey bud! I drove all the way to your place! The least you can do is buy into one of my deals! I've got to make some money you know!"

Such were the words heard by a friend of mine who was told this  from a home contractor after he gave him a quote for renovations.  He was aware the quote he'd be given would be several thousand dollars but it was about twice as much as he'd considered. He countered by making it clear he wasn't interested and, "No thank you" to which the other began to dish out every thought and expression that this "free estimate" would be anything but. He got him out of the house with no problem quite easy I guess when he had a doberman dog just awaiting instructions.

He left however with stating the last two things..."You won't get this deal tomorrow so you better jump at it" and secondly "I'll even knock off $200.00." Two hundred bucks?? When the bill would end up being something along the line of 18K?  What's a mere 200!  Mere chump change, in light of the final quote. He may as well been saying something as meaningless as "Twinkle, twinkle little star...How I wonder what you are!"

My friend and I discussed a day later how sad it'd be how others probably have fallen prey to this con man's manipulative practise. One can imagine another household where one spouse says to another, "Well yes dear we did make him get in his car and drive down the street to give us a quote...maybe we do owe him the work." NO!!!! A thousand times NO! I thought to do this blog with the hope of saving any from being scammed. Most certainly I couldn't cover every aspect that perhaps needs to be considered when employing a work group to do you a service. You can gather much information I'm sure by merely typing in on google "things to watch out for in hiring a contractor" and I'd encourage such a study. I'd like however to share a few thoughts.

To start, REMEMBER, a "free estimate" means exactly was it states...FREE! It doesn't mean in any sense of the word that you should consider it means you should feel a sense of obligation to employ their service. Hearing my friends story it solidified to me the policy I usually use when talking to contractors, sales people and the to get multiple quotes at least from 2-3 others providing the same or similar service.

Of course it's not required for one to do this but if you're wanting to be in the total drivers seat when it comes to communicating with such agents it might be good to phone them first...make them aware you're going for a few quotes and have them acknowledge they're alright with this. I'm sure they'll state, "That's fine" but even when their agent comes to the door before they start measuring anything clarify it one last time...that you're getting multiple quotes and you've already made this clear before they came.

Such should put to rest some guilt trip they seek to lay upon you and all you have to state after they give you their estimate is that  you now have their quote and you'll consider it when comparing it to others.  If they claim you won't get it cheaper make it clear they may be right....but... we'll see, and don't be moved by the con their deal is just for today...What can you call that? SCAM! If they consider it so important to seek to circumvent your attempt to educate yourself to get the best deal, shouldn't you ask if they have your best interest at heart? Most certainly they wouldn't. Another good thought is to ask for references of their past work . They should be able to provide them as any ethical business would but also keep in mind about that....their references might be family members of the CON so you have to consider if you're getting a creditable report.

I'd say the best way is to always have your ears attune to what your friends say about work they'd had done from whatever business. When it's YOUR friends that tell you positive things wouldn't it heighten the level of confidence you'd have? I'm sure it would.  No it's not always easy to work through this vetting process doing checks on a business speaking of which you can call the Better Business Bureau as well to see if the have a questionable reputation. I must say this one last thing as well not to contradict what I've said before but in regard to quotes...keep in mind the lowest quote doesn't always guarantee you'll be pleased with their work.

It must be acknowledged there are some rookie cut throats in the business coming in with the lowest quote but they may not have the professional talents and skills of another....the lowest quote may sadly do shoddy work and seek to raise the price later. That may be the CON  coming at you from a different direction so take your time. Do your homework! Seek  the counsel of close friends  who have had  work similar  done and hopefully you'll have the pleasure of having been treated right, just and fair in a business climate that can be like the wild west. Wishing you all the best!


  1. l am the dude who this happened to. lt was a 40% off deal and was going to buy.l think they put the price
    up 100% and then took off 40%. Even on the labour. Smelled so bad and the poor guy said he only wanted
    to make a buck.Back door $3000.Front door $9000. Patio door $5000. He showed me the last place he was
    ordered $36000 worth of windows. Many things he said made him to be the only one who could do the job.
    Could not wait to get him out. Will attempt the back door myself with a screen door for under $500. Keith

  2. Great that you knew the guy was a Con man Keith! Makes me think a great idea for a business name would be "Honest Contractor" but their actions better line up with the name. :)