How to Avoid a Nightmare Contractor

by Greg Westfall

How to Avoid a Nightmare Contractor

When it comes to consumer opinion, a general contractor is among the most aggravating. That’s according to a survey from Consumer Reports of over 900 homeowners. The top complaint was contractors failing to show up, which were followed by these other common gripes:

Surprisingly enough, going over budget was at the bottom of the complaint list. And that just goes to show that a contractor’s work ethic and overall character is much more important than potential cost overruns. 

So how do you avoid hiring a nightmare contractor? Like most industries, the construction business has its fair share of workers who are less-than-ideal. But there are also a ton of qualified, dedicated professionals who would be more than happy to take on your job. With a bit of research and solid references, you’ll be able to separate the best...from the rest. 

Hire only a licensed contractor

Always check on a contractor’s status. If they’re unlicensed, you run the risk of hiring someone who doesn’t have the required qualifications to perform residential or commercial construction work. Even if an unlicensed contractor is able to complete the job, most of them will not have the proper insurance to protect you and their workers. 

Insurance is crucial. If a tradesperson is hurt while working on your home, you as the homeowner could be held responsible. A licensed contractor will have access to the appropriate channels in case of injury.

Check the contractor's online reviews

Rely on websites like Yelp or Angie’s List to see how other homeowners feel about contractors in your area. These online resources contain local reviews so you can gauge a contractor’s professionalism and quality of work. Although it’s not unusual for someone to have negative feedback here and there, a profile full of bad reviews is a strong sign that you should stay away. 

Ask friends or neighbours for contractor recommendations

Is your best friend’s brother a successful contractor? Or maybe your neighbour recently had their kitchen renovated. If so, ask for recommendations. Chances are if someone close to you is satisfied with a particular contractor, you will be too. 

Ask about the contractor’s work ethic, quality of craftsmanship, as well as their accompanying team. From plumbers to electricians, general contractors often use the same tradespeople for many of their projects. It’s good to know what kind of team they’re working with before you commit. 

Ask to see the contractor's portfolio

Many contractors have websites where they’ll post photos of previous work. A portfolio can help you determine whether this person is qualified to take on your job. Although it may be tough to gauge the quality of work through pictures, you’ll still be able to see what their capabilities are -- especially if there are before & after photos. 

Check for lawsuits against the contractor

Many U.S. courts publish online records, so you can check the litigation of certain parties. Make sure the contractor you’re hiring hasn’t been involved in several lawsuits. If multiple judgments have been made against them, you may want to reconsider. 

Watch for red flags

A prospective contractor should be eager for your business, and therefore willing to address all your concerns. If this person is not responsive even before you sign the contract, it’s a good indicator of the communication hurdles that lie ahead. 

Many contractors will show their true colours before the work even begins. So be on the alert for potential warning signs. Similarly, if you don’t feel comfortable with their estimated timeline and project costs, don’t sign that contract. Make sure you’re satisfied with all the terms before you commit. 

VaVia: A Dependable Partner

Vavia offers both contractors and homeowners reliable solutions for waste management and disposal. Through our decades of experience in the dumpster industry, we have come to know the construction business inside-out. So if you’re looking for helpful insight on this complex industry, feel free to reach out for advice. Chances are once you’ve hired your contractor, you’ll need a container to handle all that construction debris. And that’s where VaVia shines! 

We provide a technology-enabled roll-off service with 10 and 15-yard containers that won’t have the neighbors complaining but more importantly we deliver peace of mind. We take care of disposal headaches so you can concentrate on more important matters. Whether you’re remodelling your bathroom or building a brand new building, ask how VaVia can make your endeavours a bit easier.

For more information on renting a dumpster, contact us here.