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What are the signs of a bad contractor?

Hiring a contractor is a little bit stressful for most people. You don't usually do it often enough to effectively judge whether someone you're about to hire is good or bad at the job.

To make it a little easier, here are some signals that if you see them in the person you're about to hire, should send you in the opposite direction to look for someone new:

1. Missing credentials

If your contractor is unlicensed, you can also bet that he or she doesn't have the necessary insurance to cover a job done wrong. Get proof of your contractor's credentials before you agree to any work.

2. A poor attitude

What counts as a poor attitude? It could just be a cavalier response to your concerns or vague answers to your specific questions. You should also be wary of anyone who pushes you into a bigger project than you wanted or who doesn't listen carefully to your goals and needs.

Another big sign of potential future problems is a contractor that doesn't respect your time. It's one thing if the contractor calls to reschedule -- it's quite another if he or she shows up an hour late to appointments and seems to think that's perfectly acceptable. Take it as a sign that work will get done on the contractor's own time schedule -- not when you expect.

3. Strange payment schedules

Contractors normally expect a modest initial payment and then subsequent payments as certain parts of the project are completed. If a contractor is pushing for a lot of money upfront, that's a sign that he or she has cash flow problems -- which could turn into trouble for you down the line.

4. Pushy sales tactics

Is a contractor pushing you toward a decision? Are you hearing things that just about scare you into signing because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't rush to fix whatever's wrong?

Slow down and get a second opinion. High-pressure tactics are the hallmark of someone who doesn't want you to look at anything too closely.

Most importantly, if you have a bad feeling about a contractor, don't let anyone talk you out of it. A lot of contractor disputes could be avoided if people simply trusted their gut instincts when making the decision about which person to hire.

Source: Angie's List, "10 Warning Signs When Hiring a Contractor," accessed June 01, 2018

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