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Staying Weary of Unrealistic Contractors

The housing market is strong and with the demand higher than the supply of contractors, home owners may be waiting for long periods on some of the better contractors out there. In times like these, it can be tempting to forego the extensive search of qualified people for the job but that can really be a mistake for your wallet.

Executive Officer of the HBA of Grand Rapids, Andy Lofgren has seen too many clients get desperate and reach out to someone untrustworthy. If remodeling, he recommends, “using someone with vetted credentials who is licensed. Using the Home Builders Association is always a good resource for finding someone honest,” be wary, however, of people’s stated affiliation with the HBA. “Unaffiliated contractors will sometimes feign a membership so check out the Home Builders Association throughout the hiring process.” When looking for dependable contractors there are some other warning signs that will tip you off to irresponsible companies.

Price and payment:

  • You’re told you have to sign the contract today to get the quoted price
  • You’re asked to pay the full cost in advance, before the work begins. Keep in mind that paying 20-50 percent is common.
  • You’re asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order, or credit cared to a company.
  • The salesperson says you’re getting a special low price because you’ve been chosen as a demonstration project.


  • The contractor doesn’t have a verifiable mailing address for his business.
  • The business has complaints that have not been resolved against them with the Better Business Bureau, which you can find here
  • The contractor won’t provide references for past work, or the references cannot be reached.
  • The business has a ban review, or doesn’t even appear, on consumer websites such as Angie’s List.

Contract and completion

  • You’re told that a “contract won’t be necessary”. Make sure you insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor.
  • You’re expected to make final payment before the job is completely finished and you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if the work requires city or count inspection, make sure that is done and you have paperwork to prove it before making the final payment.

If you do your homework to find someone who will be careful not to take advantage of you as a client, you will be able to dodge shady contractors for the common repair jobs often required in Michigan. Lofgren reports problems like a leaking/flooding basement or siding and roofing problems due to cold weather and extreme temperature changes are frequent issues in Michigan that unscrupulous contractors may cash in on. Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check your local Home Builders Association for dependable contractors at