Warning Signs You Picked the Wrong Contractor

We know that a lot of time and research can go into finding the right contractor, as it should. But sometimes you can still end up being deceived and hire the wrong contractor. Here are some of the warning signs that you might have hired the wrong contractor for your project:

  • You never signed a contract - legally if the job is $2000 or more, the contractor is required to have a contract. Regardless of the cost of the job, having a contract is a great safeguard for both the contractor and you.
  • Virtually no details are written in the contract - you should know exactly what work is being done and what products are being used; the more detail, the better.
  • You are required to get permits, or permits are purchased in your name - this is a warning sign that they aren't licensed.
  • They aren't licensed or bonded or insured, or they don't have workman's compensation.
  • They don't (or won't) give you references.
  • They tie deposits to specific dates rather than work completion milestones - projected completion dates change often; completion milestones don't change.
  • The workmanship is poor quality.
  • There are unexplained delays in their work - you should be informed of any potential delays that come up and when they can be resolved.
  • There is drug or alcohol use on the job site.
  • They have poor communication skills.
  • They don't follow what's written in your contract - if your contract is detailed enough for you to know what they are doing and what products they are using, they should be sticking to that.
  • They aren't following OSHA guidelines.
  • They steal from you - whether it's stealing your money on the job site by scamming you, or stealing your belongings, it's never okay.

If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to fire the contractor and find someone new. It's worth it to make sure your home is taken care of with quality work and quality products the first time around.

For more information about selecting a contractor and avoiding any problems, check out these resources: Oregon CCB's 16 Ways to Avoid Remodeling, Repair, and Construction Problems, our guide to Choosing the Right Contractor for You, DoItYourself.com's Contractor Checklist, and HouseLogic's tips for Fighting Back Against a Bad Contractor.


1. What happens when you come out to my house to give me an estimate?

The intention of the first meeting is just for us to meet, go over the project, get a feel for what the project consists of and what your expectations are. We will discuss your budget and types of finishes you would like. Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for the desired finishes, in which case we can talk about alternate solutions. Depending on the complexity of the project, we can come up with an estimate during our visit. Other times, the estimator will need to leave, do some research, and get back to you with an estimate. Once this process is complete, and you feel comfortable working with Square Deal, we would start the process of creating a formal proposal. This will include all the specs for the job, to include, types of trim, flooring, siding, windows, roofing, cabinetry, countertops, faucets, etc. With this information, we can create an accurate lump sum proposal. We try very hard to account for every aspect and not use budgets for items like some companies do. This is more work in the beginning, but it allows the project to flow more efficiently and it reduces the surprise cost overruns by the end of the project. Often times we will need construction drawings to allow us to bid the project accurately.


2. I’m not sure what I want my project to look like exactly. Can you help me with that?

We have an in house Architectural and Interior Designer, who can create these drawings and assist you with all of the design and selection aspects of your project, if you need or would like help with this. Our fee for this service starts with another design consultation at $65 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Based on the information gathered from that meeting, we will prepare a proposal for the design work and construction drawings. These designs and drawings will be yours even if you choose not to use us to do the project.


3. What if I want to accept your estimate, but I’m not ready for you to start my project yet?

If you decide to go with Square Deal but aren’t ready to start your project until next year, we will just keep your proposal in our file and rebid at the time when you want to start the project. We are normally 3 months +/- out on larger projects.