As the holiday season starts to approach, most of us want to give our backyard or front yard a little makeover. Of course, there will be tons of events, special occasions, and gatherings during this time of the year and it’s definitely a great choice to give your home a little makeover. However, before deciding to finalize your plan and start the project, it is important that you should get yourself educated about the process and as well as the latest news in the landscaping industry. Give yourself time to gather information about the latest trends, ideas, etc. Don’t just fall right into it just because you think so, you have to plan thoroughly. In connection to this, recent news has revealed various contractor frauds that prey on homeowners, taking advantage of their needs.
Contractors play a crucial role in the entire process of landscape design and construction. They are the ones who guide you from start to finish, which is why hiring the most reliable and right one for the job is not as easy as it may seem. Moreover, all homeowners who are planning to build a new garden or remodel existing ones soon should take extra precautions in order to avoid contractor frauds – this includes you. You shouldn’t allow yourself be a victim of such disgraceful activity and stay alerted. Not all licensed contractors are trustworthy and reliable, remember that. Here are six important tips that you should consider in order to prevent contractor fraud.
Know Who You Are Doing Business With
In choosing a contractor for this project, ask for referrals and before you hire one, make sure to ask for at least three quotes. To ensure that your contractor can be trusted, ask for and check references. Aside from that, you should conduct a background check and contact the local Better Business Bureau to see their certificates, permits, ratings and if there are any complaints. It’s important to ask for their portfolios or past experiences as well.
Utilize Multiple Resources
Finding the right contractor for the job is not easy. Given this, you have to use multiple resources in order to locate licensed landscape contractors. In your local area, you ask for advice and licensing verification to narrow down your search. Take advantage of the internet to help you find all the documents or stuff that you need.
Beware Of Cold Calls
If some contractor calls you over the phone, sends you an e-mail or just appears in front of your door offering you a great deal, DON’T fall for it. It is one of the old scams that are being used by some contractors in order to gain money. They would normally say that they have some materials left and they would offer it to you in a deal you can’t refuse. You should be a smart consumer and think about your investment first.
Don’t Bite The Bait
This is where most victims fall for, and the bait? It’s the price. Remember, the ones offering the lowest price may not be the best and in some cases, cheaper bids mean low-quality work and materials. Certainly, you wouldn’t want that to happen which is why you have to hear out and pay attention to the bids made by various contractors so that you can compare the prices considering the time (“man hours of labor”) and materials (cost). Double check if the bids include all the preparation and finish work that’s noted on your plan.
Before hiring a contractor, always ask for proof of insurance. You should make sure that the insurance offers Worker’s Compensation and Errors and Omissions coverage. You should know that contractors carry liability insurance to protect homeowners like you in any case of property damage. If your landscape contractor doesn’t have adequate insurance, you should immediately contact your insurance company in order to verify if you can add an amendment to your insurance policy for additional insurance coverage.
Read and Understand The Contract
It all goes down to your contract. So, before you sign, make sure that you have completely read and understood the terms stated in the contract. At the same time, ensure that you keep and file your receipts as well as copies of all paperwork including canceled cheques. It is important that you learn about cancellation rights so that in any event that you want to cancel the agreement, you still have legal authority to do so. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so, don’t hesitate to ask professional advice or assistance.
Contemplating all these tips could help you avoid any unforeseen and expensive contractor fraud that may happen. It’s always better to keep everything under control and be aware of what’s happening on your project. Keep yourself reminded of the things that you should do in order to protect yourself from fraud that may rise to the occasion. Besides, holidays are just around the corner, you don’t want your investment just go to waste right? So, carefully plan for your project, hire the most reliable contractor and set a realistic budget. Once your checklist is complete, then you should be good. Enjoy your new landscape design soon and set the mood for the season!