As many of you know, the contractor and home improvement industry is not what it once was. In fact, new so-called home improvement companies are formed every single day.
Many of these are simply contractor employees who try to find their own clients and become independent of their employers.
While there is nothing wrong with pursuing the dream of self-employment, there are a lot of learning curves along the way – and your home should not be a subject of someone’s experiment.
The dangers of hiring an unskilled contractor can translate into a faulty siding installation, a legal mix-up, lack of building permits, or even endangering your family.
So the question stands… how can you, as the homeowner, avoid suspicious contractors who are simply chasing the next project, and protect your investment?
1. You should seek out siding contractors, not the other way around.
If a white van randomly pulls up to your home and you find yourself talking to someone about speculated storm damage or some type of promotion on a new siding installation, you should immediately become suspicious. Reputable contractors do not go door-to-door trying to scare a homeowner into buying a service their home doesn’t require or something that they themselves cannot clearly explain. To avoid this, make sure that it is you who is seeking out siding contractors when necessary, and not the other way around.
2. Always ask the siding contractor for references
The fastest way to identify a suspicious siding contractor is when they are unable to provide references of past clients in the form of phone numbers, e-mail addresses, or other. Naturally, a reputable contractor has worked in your area for quite some time, and would amount plenty of satisfied homeowners who wouldn’t mind putting in a good word if requested. Suspicious contractors wouldn’t be able to provide a reference or try to avoid that topic. Remember, always ask the reference for the home address or if they could e-mail you pictures of what was actually done!
3. Ask to see a contractor portfolio, and ensure it is actually theirs.
While the internet is a wonderful thing that enables us to do so much more and better our lives, it also provides the ability to do bad things. We’ve heard countless stories of home improvement contractors who would pull up a portfolio of another company off of a website or Google Images. Get specific with your requests and ask to see vinyl siding, fiber-cement siding, and even get specific by brands such as James Hardie. Regardless of what a contractor claims to be able to do, the best representation of their capabilities can be observed in a portfolio of their projects. That is, as long as it is actually their projects which you are looking at.
4. Conduct a Google Search Yourself!
As mentioned, the internet and mobile devices put the world at our fingertips. This makes it extremely easy to throw the name of the proposed contractor into Google and see what comes up. Perhaps a series of positive reviews on Yelp, Google+, and other platforms shows up – great! On the contrary, you could come across a lawsuit against that home improvement company from a year ago and this would raise an obvious red flag. Of course, this red flag could be raised by any number of other things such as bad reviews, bad comments on social media, and more.
Stay safe and remember these 4 tips to avoid suspicious siding contractors! After all, your home is your most valuable investment and you cherish the safety of your family. Preventative action always costs you less than trying to repair damages after the fact!