There’s someone in every industry that ruins it for the rest. Basement finishing and remodeling is no different.
There have been countless stories in the news about Omaha Basement Contractors who talk a good talk, but then fail to deliver on any work.
In this story, a basement contractor had a couple wire him $17,000 upfront to finish their Bellevue rental home. He never performed the work.
In another recent story involving the same contractor, he changed his name and business name to yet again scam homeowners.
The underlining message is even if you use such services as HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Porch, or Thumbtack- that doesn’t ensure that you won’t become a victim. While most of these sites are legitimate (as are the reviews) we encourage homeowners to look more towards suspicious behavior.
Here are 3 ways to spot a potentially fraudulent basement contractor:
Requiring a Large Upfront Payment
Let’s say that the total cost of a basement finish is around $40k. If the contractor requires half of that amount before any work is done, it could be suspect. They may be totally legitimate, but it is risky to give that much amount of money without having any work to show for it.
We encourage homeowners in this instance to ask “why.” If they fail to answer a believable story then you may want to pass on working with them. Any basement company that requires that much amount to even start a project may have unforeseen financial troubles.
No Contract in Place
In the construction industry, we realize that many contractors work off of verbal agreements or even use estimates as binding contracts, which aren’t the same. The purpose of a contract is to protect the mutual interest of both parties in the event things go awry.
If a basement contractor never presents a contract, we would encourage you to ask them why. Basement finishing projects are usually a large financial investment so why would you avoid a contract? It’s a sign of professionalism and accountability to have a contract in place. Consider avoiding basement companies that “don’t believe in that sort of thing”.
Look for Personal Recommendations
Finding reviews off sites such as Angie’s List, Google, or HomeAdvisor can be helpful, but it can be hard to determine if those reviews are legitimate. This is where your personal social network comes into hand.
Ask for recommendations on Facebook, with your neighbors or even through NextDoor. It helps to talk to people who have personally worked with these basement companies and can give you an honest opinion.
Choosing someone to finish your basement, come into your home, and ultimately receive your money is a big deal. Be wary of suspicious behavior and don’t be afraid to ask to see documentation (such as license and insurance).
Even still, they may have all those things in place and have a good standing with the BBB and still be fraudulent. Look towards personal recommendations (or companies to avoid).
If you’re ready to get started on your basement, give us a call at (402) 321-5260!