Nashville, TN – June is National Homeownership Month, an opportunity for U.S. residents to reflect on the importance of the home and its role in their lives. As a homeowner deciding on a contractor to complete home improvements is not an easy task.
In 2021, consumers across the U.S. reported over $1.1 million lost to home improvement scams, according to BBB Scam Tracker.
Home improvement scams often begin with an unsolicited offer from a door-to-door salesperson or an ad posted on social media. Scammers often impersonate well-known or established companies and, after receiving initial payment, will disappear without even beginning the project.
“Before deciding on a contractor, we suggest doing your homework. The first stop should always be visiting BBB.org,” said Robyn Householder, President & CEO of Better Business Bureau Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. “On the website, you can search for BBB-accredited contractors and remodeling businesses in your area.”
After searching the BBB.org website, consumers are encouraged to ask for references. Ask the references about the services performed, their overall experience with the contractor, and the work’s quality. Requesting multiple quotes from different contractors is also a good practice. Consumers should always shop around and get at least three quotes from other businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.
Requiring estimates in writing and not paying in full before the work is completed are other suggestions offered by the BBB. Consumers should always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a written and signed contract. Avoid being pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready, and make sure you read and understand everything before signing. Finally, stagger your payments, so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. The best practice when working with a contractor is to use a credit card or write a check out to a company and avoid paying in cash.
Anyone can report suspected fraud to the BBB by filing a complaint https://www.bbb.org/file-a-complaint or reporting a scam using BBB.org/Scamtracker. To see more BBB resources on hiring a contractor, visit https://www.bbb.org/all/consumer-hq
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization established in 1954. The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.