How to Avoid Fraud When Working with a New Home Improvement Contractor

When it comes to investing in home improvement products, homeowners are putting a lot on the line in terms of trust and finances.
Quality home improvement upgrades aren’t cheap, with the average cost of an asphalt roof totaling around $7,500,
and vinyl siding can cost anywhere from $8,400 to over $19,000 for an average two-story house.

It’s very important to protect yourself when you’re dealing with any new home improvement contractor, no matter how convincing they may seem.
There are countless instances where scammers have posed as contractors to homeowners and took off with thousands of dollars, like this instance in New Jersey after a 2011 hail storm.

How Can Homeowners Protect Themselves?

While you can’t necessarily stop scammers from trying to make a run for your money, the first step to protecting yourself is asking questions.

There are several key questions you should ask a new home improvement contractor, including:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have referrals?
  • Can I see your certificate of insurance?
  • Do you have permits to legally perform your job?
  • Will we sign a contract?
  • Do you have a contracting license?

Home improvement contractors will likely give you the runaround if their intentions are to skip town.
A legitimate home improvement contract will quickly show you their certificate of insurance, and you can even call the insurance company to verify its validity.

Always Sign Contracts

Always sign a contract
Contracts are one of the surefire ways to protect yourself, but it’s also a way for your contractor to receive protection as well.
Your project contract should consist of the following components:

  • Timeline for job completion
  • Payment schedule
  • Signature from both parties
  • Insurance or warranty information
  • And more

If your new home improvement contractor is unwilling to sign a contract, it’s a big red flag to avoid doing business together.

Inquire about Warranties

One of the benefits of working with a home improvement professional is access to warranties.
Even if you’re buying top-of-the-line products, warranties give homeowners peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong.

Many home improvement warranties in terms of product defects are honored by the manufacture—not the home improvement company itself.
Be sure to ask about warranty details and what company manufactures their products.

Do Research Before Committing

Above all else, make sure you research any home improvement company that shows up at your door.
While there are legitimate home improvement companies who use door-to-door marketing, you can expect these people to have verifiable credentials on hand.
Never do business with a contractor who tries to back you into a corner.

Universal Windows Direct is an established home improvement company in Charlotte. Contact us today for references.

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