Common Concrete Contractor Scams And How To Avoid Them

Top 5 Contractor Scams (and How to Avoid Them)

While most contractors are trustworthy, hardworking professionals, it can be ruined for all by a few bad apples. Here are five ways to determine if you may be scammed by a contractor and how to protect yourself:

Scam 1: I’ll Need the Money Up Front

This is the most common ruse reported to the Bureau of Better Business. Your contractor explains that he wants, say, 30 percent -50 percent of the project price upfront, because he has to order supplies and rent earthmoving equipment to get the job started. If you’ve forked over the money, one of two things happens: He disappears on you, or he continues doing slapdash work knowing that you can’t really fire him because he’s sitting on thousands of your dollars.

How to protect yourself: Never pay more than $1,000 in advance or 10% of the total amount of work, whichever is less. In certain jurisdictions, it is the legal limit, and enough to determine that you are a serious customer so that the contractor can fit you into his schedule.

Scam 2: Take My Word For It

He’s very happy to do it exactly to your specifications when you first meet with the contractor and also recommends his own extra touches and improvements. Some of the specifics may not make it into the contract document, but because you had such a simple verbal understanding, you feel it doesn’t matter.

Soon enough, you note that the extras you’d spoken about are not being constructed. He tells you when you confront the contractor that he didn’t include those features in his price, so you’ll have to do without them or pony up extra cash to do the job again.

How to protect yourself: Sadly, since you signed a contract that didn’t contain all the specifics, you have little, if any, legal options against your contractor. Next time, ensure that all you have settled on is written in the summary of the project. Add any missing things, place your initials next to each addition, and then have it initially with the contractor, all before you sign.

Scam 3: I Don’t Need to Pull a Permit

For any new construction project, you’re legally obliged to get a building permit. This enables building inspectors to regularly inspect the site to ensure that the work follows safety standards.

An unlicensed contractor can try to skirt the rule on small interior jobs by telling you that authorities will not notice it. The contractor can try another tactic on big jobs that can’t be hidden, and ask you to apply for a homeowner’s permit, an alternative open to do-it-yourselfers.

Yet taking out your own contract work permit means lying to officials about who’s doing the job. And it makes you accountable for recording all the checks because the contractor does not reply to the inspector, you do.

How to protect yourself: Often ask the contractor to obtain a construction permit. Yeah, it notifies your upgrade to the local tax assessor, but it weeds out unlicensed contractors and offers you the added security of an independent job review.

Scam 4: We Ran Into Unforeseen Problems

The job is already underway, maybe even complete, when this one hits. Your contractor abruptly tells you that the agreed-upon price has risen. He blames the discovery of structural issues, such as damage to a missing beam or termite, or design improvements you made after the job started.

The extra fees may very well be legit, but some unscrupulous contractors give low jobs to get the job and then find reasons to later jack up the price. You can get an unbiased opinion from a home inspector, the local branch of the National Association of Home Builders, or even the local construction department if you are uncertain if your contractor is telling the truth about structural issues.

How to protect yourself: Make sure it contains a plan for modifying orders before signing the deal, mini-contracts containing a job description, and a fixed price for everything that is applied to the work in progress. The extra job, whether due to unexpected construction problems or homeowner whims, can only continue after both homeowner and contractor sign the change request.

Scam 5: I’ve Got Extra Materials I Can Sell You Cheap

This hoax is generally run by driveway paving companies whose supplies can not be returned to the supplier, such as hot-top asphalt and concrete. So the crew with a load of surplus products pulls up to your house and quotes a decent price to resurface your driveway on the spot.

Even if it’s just a deal (not a sure thing by any means), it’s risky to take them up on the offer if you have no idea who they are and have not reviewed the references. And if next year’s driveway continues to crumble, you can guarantee that this bunch won’t be found again.

How to protect yourself: Whether it’s a driveway paver, an emergency repairman who turns up after a big storm, or a landscaper with surplus plantings, never employ a contractor on the spot. Take the time to search out contractors and ensure that they have a good reputation and do quality work.

Are You Looking for a Concrete Contractor You Can Trust?

Spaulding Concrete has been the SF Bay Area’s top foundation builders for over 30 years.  We’re here to fix your home’s foundation, no matter what problem may exist. We have the specialized equipment, services, and professional experience that you need to make permanent improvements to your building’s foundation. To get you started on the right foot, we would be happy to give you a free quote for the repair of the foundation. 

When you reach out by phone or email we will have one of our foundation experts answer any questions you have and explain how we can restore integrity and structural stability to your home or company building permanently. Successful concrete projects require careful planning and thorough preparation. Spaulding Concrete reviews the site and designs to ensure that the concrete and base structure follows the criteria for the planned use and that the layout and finishes are suitable for the project. The qualified concrete experts at Spaulding Concrete will be on schedule, on budget, and meet or exceed standards by careful planning, professional execution, and strict quality control.

To schedule your free quote, contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, and the surrounding areas.