How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Contractor

[fa icon="calendar"] March 11, 2020 / by Home Services Expert

contractor with client Any new home construction project can seem overwhelming. At Experts In Your Home, we want to make that process easier for you. One of the biggest issues people get concerned about is whether or not they can find a trustworthy general contractor. And for good reason – hiring a bad contractor is a nightmare no one wants to have.

Rest assured, there are ways to smartly hire the right contractor so that you can have peace of mind and be excited about your project – not overwhelmed!

At Experts In Your Home we have created a free resource “3 Steps Smart Homeowners Take to Avoid Hiring a Bad Contractor”. This is a detailed resource and we hope you will download it. The following is a preview of the download to give you an idea of the smart steps to take to avoid hiring a bad contractor.


Start the hiring process by contacting at least three general contractors and having a list of questions ready to ask them. If you have no idea who to contact, asking friends, family and co-workers for referrals is your best resource to begin. You can also try searching online, paying attention to print advertisements or billboards, or searching the phone directory.

Next, the most important thing you can do is to make sure they are licensed by the state. By law, anyone in California performing home improvement work valued at $500 or more (combined labor and material costs) must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). This means they’ve passed trade and contractor license exams and have undergone a criminal background investigation.

Read more from Step 1 in our free download.



Once you decide on the contractor to hire, it’s time to negotiate the contract before signing on the dotted line. The written agreement is the most important communication tool between you and the contractor because it’s what is referred back to in the event of a misunderstanding. If anything is unclear to you in the contract, make sure to resolve it prior to signing. That way, if any disagreements arise after the contract is signed, they won’t result in more time, money, or legal action.

The written contract should contain the following details:

❑ Scope of work - Clear, detailed plan of the project to be completed. Include any plans or documents used to define the project

❑ Timeline - Start date, payment schedule, and anticipated completion date

❑ Price - Specific materials being used - Allowances held for undefined scope or materials not selected yet - Pay no more than 10% of the total contract price or $1,000 as a down payment, whichever is less - Avoid paying in cash

❑ Payment schedule and due dates for each phase of the project - Having a payment schedule that corresponds to each phase of your project is important so that you don’t let payments get ahead of the work

❑ Confirm the contractor will obtain any needed permits - Find out from your local building department if your project needs a building permit

❑ Confirm the contractor carries general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance

❑ Anticipated project completion date

❑ Cancellation policy - There is a 3-business-day right to cancel a home improvement contract

Read more from Step 2 in our free download.



While contacting, interviewing and working with any general contractor, it’s important that you’re informed of potential scams and to be aware of any shady business tactics. If you encounter any of the following, it should be a red-flag warning to you that the contractor is not your best choice.

Door-to-Door Solicitations

General contractors don’t typically go door-to-door trying to get business. If a solicitor comes to your door and inquires if you have any jobs that need to be done, insisting they can begin right away, it’s best to turn them away. Especially if they offer to use their “leftover” materials at a “reduced” price and ask for payment upfront. Your project will most likely be abandoned!

High Pressure Sales

If you’re talking to a specific contractor who is rushing you through the vetting process and pressuring you to make a decision before you’ve had enough time to get at least 3 different bids, then scratch them off the list. They will also probably be this way when you have to make decisions about your project and you don’t want to be rushed through making major decisions. It also indicates that they care more about the sale then actually doing good work.

Read more from Step 3 in our free download.

These are a preview of the 3 things smart homeowners do to avoid hiring a bad contractor. At Experts In Your Home we offer full licensed contractor services and our home builders build in Paradise and Chico, Ca. If you want help in the process or simply want to get a start on discussions of your new construction project give us a call or contact us online.

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