The severe weather we have in Oklahoma makes the need for emergency home repairs a reality many of us have had to face. Roof damage, broken windows, structural harm… The anxious desire to get these problems dealt with quickly can make room for mistakes in who you choose as a contractor. There are people out there who are simply waiting to take advantage of you in your time of need. They make promises of fast, inexpensive work under the guise of being sympathetic to your loss.
Don’t be fooled. They are NOT there to help you.
Here are the Top 5 Ways to Spot Construction Scammers and Frauds:
- Their only way of getting business is door to door and stopping you in the isle of a hardware store. The only time you find reputable companies in a neighborhood is after a large storm loss. Keep in mind that the good and bad are out there. Learn who the local companies are and demand customer and supplier certifications. The good contractors have these.
- They Will Ask for Money Up Front – Their request will sound reasonable – they need to be able to buy materials, they have to bring in special equipment, etc. Requests from these frauds will be upwards of 30% of the entire proposed budget. That puts you and your money at risk when they either do subpar work or disappear entirely. This is not how a reputable company works. A contractor who has your best interest in mind will ask for a very small deposit on a specific, contractual amount after assessing the damage if the work you need is not covered by your insurance.
- They Won’t Give You a Physical Address for Their Company – Scammers don’t usually have a permanent office space. If they can’t or won’t give you an address to a brick and mortar location you can walk into, don’t do business with them. They will try to give you a PO Box, but that is not good enough. This is a huge red flag that they are not professionals. Be leary of suites too, they may just be mail boxes at another business. Google the address and make sure it is the contractors real location.
- They Will Say They Do Not Need to Pull Permits – Frauds want you to believe that the work you need to have done falls outside the requirements for permits. Do not believe it. They know they do not have the credentials to pull permits and are trying to hide this from you. A reputable company will have zero worries about pulling necessary permits.
- They Won’t Offer Any Proof of Licensing or Insurance – This is a big one. Scammers depend on being to be able avoid offering any proof of their legitimacy because you are in crisis. Do not sign any contracts, pay any money or allow any work to start until you have checked their credentials and gotten references. A real contractor will have access to these things at a moment’s notice. If they say they are exempt from workman’s comp insurance, they can have no helpers, no employees, and remember who they will turn to when they get injured. You hired them, you are their employer. Protect yourself and demand insurance.
It can be so difficult to think clearly when something traumatic has happened. You know you need to have your home fixed as soon as possible and that can take a toll on your ability to make the right decision. Being an Oklahoman, you also want to trust the good intentions of others. That is one of the things that makes our state great. However, there are still those who would take advantage of your circumstances and good nature. Being aware of these 5 ways to spot construction scammers and frauds will protect you and your home.
You can sign up for disaster relief, make a call to us if it strikes, and go to the head of the line for emergency services in advance. Give us a call for more details. We’ll have your back, you’ll have peace of mind and avoid all bombardment from contractors.