A nice, young man, “Adam” was in the neighborhood and offered to do our yard work for $250. This included raking, trimming trees, and cleaning the gutters. So, it was quite a bargain. Ordinarily, my husband takes care of this, but he has a bad back and could use the help. For that price, the offer was hard to turn down.
“Adam” accepts the payment from my husband in cash and then receives a call. Apparently, he had some unfinished business at our neighbor’s. He left in a hurry, leaving his trailer behind.
Later, my husband called “Adam” but received a message that the number he dialed was not accepting calls. That was the only way we had to get a hold of “Adam.” Fortunately, he came back, soon after the call. This time, he had another man and young woman with him. They were in a hurry and tried to leave with the trailer. My husband intercepted and asked if they were going to trim the tree and rake the leaves, as promised. Reluctantly, “Adam” trimmed the tree, and the woman started raking. “Adam” told her to stop; my husband insisted that she continue. The other man started raking too. Then, in an angry frenzy, “Adam” takes off with the trailer, leaving behind his partners to go to another job.
Talking to some neighbor’s, who also use Adam’s services, apparently, he is notorious for not finishing work. In fact, this neighbor only pays him, when work is complete, one job at a time. Adam never has provided a last name or physical address. Since his number seems to be nonworking for part of the time. He isn’t very reliable.
The main question, here, is: had Adam not needed to return to pick up his trailer or had my husband not intercepted him leaving and demanded that he finish the work, as agreed upon, would he have done it? It’s not likely. PLEASE, learn from my lesson.
TIPS FROM THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
- Check the validity of a contractor. Find out if he/she is insured or even licensed to perform the work. Check with the City or County Building Department in your area. Should an accident happen and they cause damage to your home, to him or others, who will pay for damages? This is why it is so important to hire licensed contractors. Two hundred and fifty dollars may not sound like much but having to pay damages from an unlicensed contractor could add up.
- Prevent yourself from becoming a victim of fly-by-night gimmicks by insisting that you have a written contract that includes the contractor’s phone number and address whereabouts, how much money needs to be paid up front, and other pertinent, agreed-upon details.
- Lastly, call the Better Business Bureau and find out if there have been complaints. If the contractor is in the neighborhood, you have time to make calls to do a background check. If there isn’t time, that should raise a red flag for you.
Making a couple of phone calls, taking the time to have a written agreement, and obtaining a contractor’s contact information, before work is done, can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7697998@N05/4870731398/”>BurtAlert</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>