Making End-of-Season Home Improvements? Research Contractors before Making a Commitment

As autumn leaves begin to fall to the ground, the seasonal change signifies the beginning of the end for outdoor home-improvement work.  The busy season for contractors is wrapping up and they begin to winterize their business or call it quits for the cold months altogether.

As homeowners work to squeeze in one more project before the temperature drops for good, like getting a new roof or finally taking care of those clogged gutters, contractors are competing for the final projects of the season to make their earnings last.

Quick end-of-season work bears repeating that consumers should always investigate prospective contractors before hiring them to complete work. BBB of Western PA has hundreds of accredited contractors wanting to work for you. Here are some tips in making your hiring decision easier:

Solicit bids from several contractors.  It’s important to compare costs before making a commitment to any home improvement project.  It pays to look beyond the lowest bid when looking for a contractor, no matter the size of the project.

Know how to identify traits of con artists. Homeowners can eliminate less-than-reputable workers by being familiar with common traits of rip-off artists:

-Door to door solicitation – Be suspicious of contractors who show up at your door and tell you they have material left over from a previous job at your neighbor’s house. This is a common ploy of fly-by-night workers who are not looking to satisfy customers.  They’ll often perform the job with poor quality and homeowners will not be able to contact the workers again following the poor work.

-Decision Pressure – A reputable company will give you the time that you need in considering your contracting options and will not pressure you into doing work right away.  Consumers will want to check references, check to see if any registrations are needed and if they are valid, compare estimates and read business reviews from the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company is reputable.

-Paying for the job upfront – It’s a red flag if the business asks you to pay for the entire job upfront or strictly asks for cash only.  Paying with a credit card can provide proof of payment.  Funding a project with cash will leave no paper trail and homeowners shouldn’t pay anything until at least after the first day of work is completed and only then pay up to 1/3 of the total cost. For a project totaling more than $1,000, it is against Pennsylvania law to make a deposit of more than 1/3
of the project’s cost.  Make sure you are satisfied with the work before making the final payments.

Visit our website for more information on home improvement tips or contact us to learn more about a company.

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About Caitlin Driscoll

I have been the Public Relations Director of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA since November 2011.