Have you heard of a friend or neighbor who has been screwed by a contractor? Unfortunately, contractor fraud stories are all too common. The homeowner gives the contractor a down payment and the work is either never started or not finished. Or the contractor demands extra money and won’t return to complete the job unless the “ransom” is paid.
I’ve been contacted numerous times by victims of contractor fraud. They want Kowalske to come in and save the day and help them get their project complete. While trying to help people get out of these situations, I find one common denominator across these situations: These small solo contractors often don’t have financial control of their business, and therefore, they can’t be trusted.
Here’s my advice:
“Choose a remodeling company that has been around for many years, has financial control of their business, and one that has a proven track record of success in your community.”– Matt Kowalske, President – Kowalske Kitchen & Bath
Why a Solo Contractor Can Be a Red Flag
It might sound like a great idea to save a little money by hiring “the small guy” that works out of his house. Many of these contractors get their start in business by being really skilled at a certain trade. They start off doing “side work” and at some point, they quit their full-time job, and go off on their own. A majority of them have great intentions and the first year or two goes really well.
They have happy customers, and their bank account is flush. Unfortunately, as time goes on, and actual overhead expenses start to add up, they run into a problem (cash). Suddenly, a large expense is due for tax, work comp or insurance and the bills start to stack up. Many of these contractors then scramble to sign more jobs to get a down payment to pay for a job that isn’t yet completed. Eventually, because they lack a basic understanding of the actual costs of running a remodeling business, they go out of business and leave their customers high and dry. Don’t become a victim of contractor fraud!
Contractor Fraud: Why Financial Stability Matters
Good financial control, especially in the remodeling business, is an underestimated, and incredibly important part of what makes a good “contractor”. Before you hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or basement, you need to ask:
- Will this person, or company be financially responsible with my money?
- Do they have a presence in the community that shows their commitment?
- Can I trust this person?
Do your homework before handing over any money. We have an awesome blog post with tips and questions you should ask contractors: How to Pick the Best Remodeling Contractor
Hire a Profitable Contractor
What most people don’t realize is that you want your contractor to be profitable. It’s important for a company to invest in tools, staff training, and financial controls that are needed to handle your job.
You are hiring this contractor to handle one of the largest purchases you will ever make in your life (besides buying a home).
Choosing a solo contractor comes with risks. Be sure to ask the contractor “What financial controls do you have in place that will ensure MY MONEY is being used solely for the expenses associated with MY JOB?” If they don’t have a detailed discussion with you about their balance sheet, you might want to think twice.
Trust, customer service and quality are so important when hiring a contractor. Hire someone who is an expert, with years of experience.
Why You Can Trust Us
We’ve spent dozens of years mastering the design-build remodeling process. Kitchens, bathrooms, basements and whole houses – we know what works! Our team of designers, office staff, carpenters and project managers make sure your project is completed on time and on budget. We are experts at designing, budgeting, ordering, and managing schedules.
“Good financial control, especially in the remodeling business, is an underestimated, and incredibly important part of what makes a good contractor.”– Matt Kowalske, President – Kowalske Kitchen & Bath
Homeowners are busy and it’s our goal to go above and beyond to give our clients the best possible experience. It’s important to make the process simple, easy and enjoyable for you.
Schedule a time to talk with one of our designers to see if Kowalske is the right fit for your project.
This blog post was written by Matt Kowalske, the President of Kowalske Kitchen & Bath.