The construction industry is rapidly growing with the introduction of innovative building technologies including the use of prefabs as opposed to the usual brick and mortar. This requires skill and professionalism to meet the demand for good houses and infrastructure.

Building your home or that office space you desire may look like a far-fetched dream. It is both time-consuming and very expensive. Imagine spending all your money on a house hoping to get out of the monthly hustle of paying rent only to get shoddy structures.

You don’t want the unnecessary and most probably hefty cost of redoing a part of the house that wasn’t well done.

Identifying good contractors requires patience and information. For all the great contractors out there, there are plenty of bad contractors and outright frauds too. Here’s how to tell if you’re getting scammed.

Demanding Money Upfront

A good contractor will assess the scope of work required such as the damages that require repairs, the quantity, and quality of materials required before giving a quote. You can spot red flags for contractors when they ask for money upfront before understanding the work that needs to be done.

Money should be paid in reasonable segments as per a retainer and after the project is complete. Make payments by cheque or credit card instead of cash so you can have a traceable money trail for reference just in case.

No Contract

Word of mouth does not stand in court. Make sure you agree on the important project details including the schedule of activities, cost, and start and expected completion dates. The stipulations of your agreement should be in the contract as well as the address information, contacts, and license number.

The Contract agreements should state liabilities including the cause of action in the probability that the expected quality is not meet. Signing the contract preferably in the presence of a witness and advocate makes it a legally binding agreement reducing the risk of being scammed by your contractor. Keep off any contractor who refuses to sign a contract.

Lack of Professional Credentials

Construction is a technical discipline that requires trained personnel. Ask to view the contractor’s license so you can verify if he’s certified by the relevant bodies. Contractors should be bonded and insured.

Experience is an added advantage. Call references given or ask to view his/her portfolio. Take time to visit recent or ongoing projects to identify red flags for contractors and ask questions to gauge their knowledge in the field.

Competence is crucial in projects. Bad contractors avoid licenses. Acquire all the licenses and certifications before any work commences on site.

Poor Management Skills

Good contractors conduct businesses during work hours and not at weird hours. They are able to manage subcontractors effectively. Their staff members are dressed in safe construction gear to prevent injuries.

If a contractor is unable to manage themselves or their employees, they definitely won’t manage your project. It’s best you let them go.


Check how your contractor presents himself. Communication skills, confidence and dress code are the prime indicators of whether a contractor is either bad or worth your money. Qualified contractors handle themselves with professionalism and deliver quality results.

A contractor who comes to work drunk or under substance abuse is a rip-off. They should remain sober and reachable within the stipulated time of the project.

A lot of things might occur on-site such as tools breaking or injuries occurring. During these situations, professional contractors remain calm and are able to rectify problems so that you move to your dream house sooner.

Very Low Prices

Construction works have a range of prices depending on the scale of the project and the nature of the task. It is advisable to get a quote from at least three contractors before making a decision on the preferred. Do your research and have an idea of the market prices upfront.

Bad contractors will tell you anything by offering insane discounts just to get money out of your pocket. Remember when the deal is too good think twice and don’t compromise on quality over cost. Negotiate for best prices but keep in mind that repairs or building works should stand the test of time.

Unable to Meet Deadlines

Deadlines are critical and professional contractors work to finish their projects before the deadline. The cost of the project is dependent on the schedule of works. When too much time is wasted on unnecessary activities, it increases the cost since labor is calculated daily.

Contractor scandal issues are caused by poor planning. When money paid for a section is used up before completion, the contractor may cut corners to avoid getting loss sometimes leading to incomplete or shoddy projects. Organized contractors beat deadlines to prevent such bottlenecks.

Scare Tactics

Find out how your contractor got to know of the projects. Was he driving by when he noticed a dropping roof or licking pipe? If the contractor gives ultimatums like the building will fall if you do not hire him to repair it today, he is a scammer.

Scare tactics show incompetence. A qualified contractor should be able to argue out their points reasonably to gain a competitive advantage. They present the identified problems and offer different solutions for the client to make an informed choice.

Don’t make hasty decisions out of fear. Take time to access needs, conduct due diligence and research to find out more before making that final decision on the contractor.

Avoiding Bad Contractors

Scammers are everywhere. Avoid them by doing proper research. If you’re building for the first time, seek advice from friends and family who have built before.

Use referrals instead of going for new contractors whose track record may not be clear. When you decide on the contractor, do a background check, ensure all documentation is in order and don’t commit your money until you are sure you can trust the contractor.

If the contractor does poor work and is not able to rectify it, discontinue the contractor. Regular site visits will assist to identify red flags of bad contractors. Having bad contractors does not mean the end of your dream; it’s an eye opener to get qualified contractors.

Read more on how to save costs during the construction of your home on our blog.