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How to Avoid Getting Ripped off by Home-Repair Companies

By on November 6, 2018
How to Avoid Getting Ripped off by Home-Repair Companies

There’s no way to avoid it — home repair is expensive. Bringing in a repair crew, whether they’re fixing a leak in your plumbing, repairing your roof or anything in between, can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars. It gets even more expensive when unscrupulous repair companies will do everything they can to charge you as much as possible to complete the job. If you need something in your home repaired, what can you do to avoid home repair companies ripping you off?

The Internet Is Your Friend

There are tons of review sites available to help you get a better idea of the kind of service various repair companies offer, and some are more accurate than others. Angie’s List is one of the best in the industry, but you need to pay a subscription to sign up for the site. Others, like Yelp, can give you some insight too, but when it comes down to it, more people write negative views than ones that praise a company they’ve worked with, so take what you read on those sites with a grain of salt.

Check Licensing

Especially for big jobs, you want to make sure you’re only using state-licensed contractors. Each state should have a website where you can verify a contractor’s licensing to make sure they are both licensed and insured in your state. A contractor needs to meet all state requirements before they can become licensed. Beware of any contractors that refuse to give you their license number so you can verify it — they are likely hiding something, like the fact that they aren’t licensed or that the state has revoked their license.

Get and Check References

When you’re interviewing contractors, don’t be afraid to ask for references. Any reliable company should be happy to share them, while you should avoid those that are hesitant or refuse to provide references. Once you get the reference information, make sure to check them. Anyone who has offered up their phone number or email address as a reference for a contractor will be more than happy to talk to you about the work they had done and the kind of company you’re talking to.

Collect Multiple Bids

When you’re looking for the perfect contractor, there’s no rule that says you have to go with the first one you call. Take time to get multiple bids for your job from competing companies. Beware of companies that underbid or offer bids that seem too good to be true. They may be leaving out something important, or they may be planning to add hidden charges to the bid after you have accepted it to push the price up.

Get It in Writing

When you request an estimate or a bid from a home repair company or contractor, make sure you get it in writing. Having a paper trail can help you protect yourself if the company decides to change any aspect of the project mid-job. Having a written estimate from each company you’re considering can also make it easier to compare the potential costs and benefits of each bid before making your final decision.

Research alone isn’t always enough. Make sure your contractor is licensed in your state, collect references and get your estimates in writing to make sure you’re choosing the right company for your home repair job.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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