Hiring a building contractor you can trust is the best way to avoid running into issues or dishonest practices. However, this is often easier said than done. If you have reason to suspect that the contractor you’ve hired might be hiding some issue or mistake from you, read on to learn about 7 ways contractors hide their mistakes.
1. Omission and lack of transparency
In some cases, contractors hide their mistakes intentionally. Dishonest contractors might not tell you about a problem, only for you to notice it at a later date. In order to avoid this problem, make sure that you specifically ask your contractor if there are any issues. If possible, record the answer (in writing or otherwise) to hold your contractor accountable. This might come in handy later, particularly in case the situation escalates to a lawsuit.
Construction contractors who aren’t transparent or trustworthy usually act in patterns, and it is very likely that previous clients would have complained about or reported them through online reviews and other platforms. Never hire anyone without doing significant research first.
Other times, a contractor might hide significant (and potentially costly) errors by masking them. There are many ways they can do this: hiding faults behind wallpaper, paint or panels are just a few examples. These issues will almost always make themselves known down the line, but that will likely be after your contractor is paid and long gone. Again, putting in some thorough research can help you identify if past clients encountered this problem.
3. Lack of a proper professional license
Some contractors might lead you to believe that they have a license, when in fact, they are performing work illegally. It becomes much more difficult to deal with mistakes or issues caused by work performed by an unlicensed contractor. To make matters worse, hiring an unlicensed builder might actually cause you a lot of legal troubles, particularly if anybody gets injured on the job.
4. Asking for more money
You could encounter a contractor who continues to find “existing mistakes” that don’t actually exist, and who asks you for more money to fix these imaginary problems. If you are not convinced of why your contractor is asking you to pay more, it might be worth to get a second opinion before cashing out a substantial amount of money for nothing. Setting your budget clearly and in advance can help avoid this type of problem. To make sure that your contractor is not going to make up mistakes, you can also invest in a pre-inspection, so you know exactly how things were immediately before the project’s inception.
5. Using low-quality materials
Some contractors might cheat you into paying for premium quality material and then use a lower grade product instead. If you are concerned that this is happening to you, try to take good quality pictures of the materials being used and ask for receipts and serial numbers, if applicable. You should be able to ask for help or advice online too: there are plenty of active consumer and contractor communities ready to assist you!
6. Creating a “Money Pit”
If the construction process seems to being going on with no clear end in sight, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some contractors actually deliberately cause problems and delays just to extend the duration of the project and require more money from you. Many people sadly fall into this “money pit” and struggle to get out without too much loss. To make sure this does not happen to you, you could set a guaranteed completion date in advance. Many reputable contractors offer this option, and it could be worth considering, even it means stretching out your budget a little more.
7. Lack of skills
Not all contractors hide their mistakes intentionally. Some contractors might actually cause problems and waste time and money because they simply do not possess the necessary skill set or because they use very outdated processes. Always make sure to research any contractor you are thinking of hiring and check out their track records, reviews, and reputation. Better safe than sorry!
There are some contractors that are dramatically more affordable than others. While not all of them are crooked and some could deliver the quality they promise in a cost-effective way, you need to understand that in some cases, you really do get what you pay for!