4 Tell-Tale Signs that a Contractor’s Cheating on Their Clients

While most contractors in Cairns are trustworthy and hardworking professionals, it is still a wise decision to be wary when deciding who to work with. Be cautious because there are also a few bad apples that can give you more problems than solutions.

It is perfectly normal to have queries and concerns throughout the planning, building, or renovating process. With the right contractor, you can feel confident and updated with each stage. However, it might be best to note that fraud is quite common in the construction industry, and unless you are informed of what to watch out for, you can lose your hard-earned money to these bad contractors.

At Cairns Carpenters, we aim to help our clients at all times, so in this article, our team will share some of the tell-tale signs that a contractor is cheating on you and how you can avoid them.

They are swapping the materials used for the project.

Material swapping is a red flag you should be aware of. When a contractor told you or made an agreement to use a specific type or quality of material for the project you discussed but secretly used a cheaper or low-quality material instead, then you can call them out. Since not all clients are knowledgeable about the variety of types and quality of materials used in construction, some contractors may take advantage of them.

How to avoid this:

Even if you do not know the aspects of each material used for the project, you can always ask your contractor to show you the material lists before proceeding with the construction. If you hire a trustworthy contractor, they will be happy and confident to tell you the product’s quality and why they chose it for the project.

The contractor asked for suspiciously high advance payment and canceled work schedules.

It is quite common for contractors to get advance payment for the materials for large-scale renovation or repair projects. This is to make sure that their customer will not back out of the contract and left them on the hook for the materials they have already bought. However, it is a different situation when you work with a bad contractor because they might ask for a suspiciously high advance payment, and then the next day, you can’t contact them anymore.

How to Avoid This:

Always research the contractor you are planning to hire. Make sure that they have a professional portfolio, identifiable business front, and good work history in your area.

Changing the estimate proposed.

This trick is perhaps the most common way a contractor can rip off his client. It typically happens on repair jobs. Suppose you notice that the contractor just instantly provided you a quote without even checking how extensive the problem is or even warn you of the possible expenses ahead. In that case, they may change the estimate and ask you to pay more after the job is done. The problem is they are not technically wrong with changing the estimate, especially if they can’t really tell how bad the problem is until they get started.

How to Avoid This:

If you are on a rigid budget and you want to avoid this from happening, you can ask your contractor if the project has the potential to be more extensive than the one you anticipated. A good contractor will be transparent with you and even consider giving you a reasonable approach for the project.

The project is not finished on the agreed-upon schedule.

A contractor must also provide you with the intended time frame for the project you plan to have, along with the budget estimate. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an exact date, but they should at least give you an estimate as to how long is the duration of the whole project. However, if you think that it is just a simple project and it took them a week or more to give you the initial plan, then you might have to call them out for this.

How to Avoid This:

Don’t forget to ask your contractor upfront about the time frame for the project. Besides that, you can ask them if they are willing to give a discount once the project is not accomplished within the agreed-upon schedule. If the contractor seems unwilling to work out these details with you, there may be a chance that they will not honor the time frame they have provided you.

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