10 Warning Signs When Hiring a Contractor

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DENISE Ciangetti

Subject: Deck

Through my research I have learned There is no gate to go with my expensive composite deck that was built. Putting a gate on was in the. Contract. He took advantage of pricing and charged me double what materials cost. We started project August 1, 2016. Still not finished. He hasn't put the toe kick on the back of the stairs. Yet. He made me a shabby gate which is not acceptable. He took white pvc painted it gray it's already chipping. It doesn't match the my railing at all

Customer of NuCraft Design

Subject: Conned by a friend's family member

Another warning, DON'T TRUST ANYONE! Our contractor was a son-in-law of a friend. He told me everything I wanted to hear, but I didn't know he was lying to me the entire project. I paid him unconditionally without asking for proof of expenditure. When we were $50,000 over budget, I told him I wasn't paying any more, and he wasn't close to being done. Now he is slapping us with a threat of taking us to court and he mismanaged our money. He has refused to show us any proof of expenditures. I was way too trusting and naive. Please don't trust anyone, even your own family member. Please get EVERYTHING in writing, and have it documented with and signed in front of a notary. Do not pay the total agreed to until the project is done. Better yet, if it is a big job like ours, use a third party like a title company to manage the payouts. Make it CLEAR that they are to manage to the contracted budget, and that it is their responsibility if they have overruns without informing you. Demand change orders with your notarized signature (so they cannot forge it) for everything that goes over the agreed on budget.

Brian B Calderone

Subject: No Name on Truck = Fly-By-Night Contractor

#A1 Reason - No name on work vehicle = fly by night; good luck finding him if/when there's a problem.
#B2 Reason - Contractor can not produce a valid Certificate of Insurance with your name/address named as Certificate Holder.
#C3 Reason - Contractor charges you for materials without both of you writing and signing a notarized contract; you having a copy of his driver's license, business license, etc.


Subject: reason 12 for not using a contractor

They are listed under multiple names but same phone number. I used a chimney sweep and found this out after the fact. He insisted on coming out to the house but refused to tell me if there is a fee for giving me an estimate. He still was aloof when he got there and continually kept avoiding the question. He came with a junior apprentice and I ask him if he could ask him. Still no response. Found out apparently he was in on it too. While I was speaking with the apprentice the owner of the business went on the roof. Then he gave me an estimate for repairs. I decided not to do the work with them. Then about a week later I get bill for $125 for an estimate. I called them and told the wife who answers the phone they were not getting one penny because from the time I spoke with her and her husband/owner came to my house, I repeatedly ask if their was a charge and never was told by her or him. Eventually they stop sending me notices.


Subject: #11. Ask the person doing

#11. Ask the person doing the estimate and planning if they are going to personally be doing the work. If not, then kick them out the door as fast as you possibly can. Anyplace that's big enough to hire a planning specialist or hire separate crews will not care enough about your work to do it right, and you'll be buried in punch lists and rescheduled repair jobs.

Leslie All-Knight Htg. & Clg. Inc.

Subject: 10 things to look for when hirering a contractor

I have to say that number 8 on this list is very important! As with All-Knight we DO NOT exspect a anwser right there on the spot. We understand that it is a big decission and not one that is to be made on the spot. Jim is a excellent sales person. He actually has cost us money, (kidding) because he has gone on sales that another bigger company in town was just there and said this Senior Citizen on a fixed income had to replace system, quoted $8,000+ Jim looked replaced a $2.00 belt, it has now been 2-3 yrs and her system is still operating well. So, if you have a Sales person wanting a answer on the spot, be careful, they may be paid on commission also. (which btw All-Knight does not pay on a commission scale, so they have no reason to pressure or sell something that you really don't need).

Peter Croppo

Subject: 10 Warning Signs for Bad Contractors

All are good suggestions but the first is best - use your first/gut reaction to the contractor & do not be afraid to simply say "NO". It will be quick, painless & you will feel empowered to move on.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.