Handyman Fraud: Watch For These Classic Fake-outs

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Philip Obal

Subject: Contractor/Handyman Fraud

The fraud in home & commercial building contractors is not an old thing. Been happening for years. ALWAYS check Angies List, get references and call them.

Only pay in portions as the work is done (by COMPLETED milestones). Even banks will delay and only release payment to contractors, when it is COMPLETED.

Never pay up front. If you do, only pay a small percentage.

Katie Jacewicz
Katie Jacewicz

Subject: Angie's List advice on down payments

Hi Phillip, You're exactly right about up-front payments. Some states regulate how much a contractor can request in advance. California, for example, says a down payment should be no more than 10% of the entire project or $1,000 - whichever is less. For unregulated states, Angie suggests paying in three equal payments - one in the beginning of the project to cover materials, one in the middle as work is being completed and the final installment upon completion. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/ask-angie-what-reasonable-down-payme...





Subject: handyman services

I've rejected more contractors - even those listed in the yellow pages - because they didn't bother to show up, were late or - another biggie - give one quote in driveway and put a much higher quote on paper. And I'd NEVER hire someone who claimed to be working nearby. Learned that by watching a neighbor hire someone like that - for tree trimming. Even I knew he got ripped off with the ridiculous work!

Um...that would be a NO!

Manny Guillen

Subject: Handy Men Fraud

I Personally think that Handymen are getting a Bad rep I on the Process of getting my Contractors License. i'be worked for a general contractor for years before going into Business. The truth is that a General Contractor is the one that does all these things Because in the State of California a Handymen cannot sue. I only ask for 10% which is what the law allows and the rest after the job is Finish which is why I try to do it as quickly as possible and not cut corners so I can get the remaining Balance. So that comment should also be for License Contractors. You would not believe the times I have been called out to repair what a general contractor did because he cut corners.

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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.