A lot of people decided to start home improvement projects during the pandemic.
However, supply chain problems, the labor shortage and companies taking on too many projects have led to a surge of complaints about unfinished and shoddy jobs in the past year.
Many homeowners learned the hard way that a little research goes a long way when it comes to finding the right contractor.
Tiffany Rosen is among those people. She has a mess of a patio outside her home.
"It looks really awful, and is already starting to crumble," she said.
Rosen hired a contractor last summer after reading reviews on Facebook.
"He had quite a few finished jobs posted online," she said. "It looked great, and he said all of the right things."
Four months later, her patio remains unfinished.
"I think I am beyond crying now, and I am beyond upset," she said. "He stole 40% of my pay for the year."
Better Business Bureau issues warning to homeowners
There is no shortage of jobs for contractors right now. There is also no shortage of complaints about them at the Better Business Bureau.
The complaints prompted the organization to issue a warning about hiring a contractor last spring.
"There's been a disconnect between the consumer and the contractor on exactly when they can expect supplies again," Don O'Brien of the Better Business Bureau said.
O'Brien said many homeowners don't realize it can now take months for certain supplies to show up, which can stop a project in its tracks.
"Our supply chain, right now, is really in disarray, and the good contractors are making sure that they tell their clients they are waiting on these things, and it's going to be a while before we get them," he said. "The ones we hear complaints about at the BBB are those contractors who don't have really good communication with their clients, and the clients are left to wonder, 'Well, gosh, are they ever going to show up again?'"
What you can do
The BBB suggests that anyone hiring a contractor should:
- Do their research. Check the contractor's reviews at the BBB's website and Google their name for complaints.
- Ask for references: A reputable contractor should have no problem producing satisfied homeowners who are not friends or relatives.
- When selecting a contractor, make sure to read the contract thoroughly and be aware of any conditions or "riders" that may raise your final price due to supply issues.
Finally, O'Brien says never to pay 100% upfront.
"Once you do that, there's really no motivation for that contractor to come back," he said.
Do your research, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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