Don’t Let the Rush to Hire a Contractor Lead You to a Dishonest Individual

April 23, 2014

Jacksonville, FL- Spring is upon us and many homeowners are getting their “Honey-Do” lists completed and preparing their home for the summer months. BBB Serving Northeast Florida & The Southeast Atlantic hears from countless homeowners who have made the mistake of hiring someone to help around the home without doing their research.

If you are contemplating hiring a contractor don’t let yourself become a victim. Unlicensed contractors often target the uniformed and inexperienced, as well as the elderly.  Red flags that you may be dealing with an unlicensed contractor include:

  • Door –to- door solicitations from individuals traveling in unmarked trucks or vans
  • Requests that you obtain necessary building permits
  • Requests to be paid upfront or requests large deposits upfront
  • Will not give you copies of workers comp or liability insurance
  • Wants you to make a payment to a personal name instead of a company name, or requires payment in cash.

BBB offers the following tips for making sure you hire a reputable contractor:

  • Get Multiple Estimates.  When hiring a contractor to do any type of work, get at least three estimates. 
  • Check References.  Look at more than what the contractor supplies. If possible, ask to visit previous jobs and interview the given references. 
  • Never Pay Upfront.   Try to arrange a low down-payment and only pay the contractor according to how much work has been completed.
  • Get Everything in Writing.  Ask the contractor for a written agreement that clearly includes all of the project details.

BBB  recommends that you not only request to see licensing and insurance information, but that you verify this information as well.  “Always check out any contractor you are considering with BBB. “ said BBB president Tom Stephens. “Additionally, we can provide a list of BBB accredited contractors in your area.”  BBB accreditation means the company has met BBB standards, is properly licensed and licensing  has been verified within the last year. It also assures you that the company has committed to use BBB's dispute resolution process if a problem arises.

For more information you can trust, visit us at or follow us on twitter @BBBJacksonville.

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2013, consumers turned to BBB 131 million times for Business Reviews on more than 6.5 million businesses, all available for free at  The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.