When it comes to getting some repair work, improvements or renovations done to your house, finding the right construction contractor is crucial. And part of that process is also making sure you won’t be dealing with a scam artist rather than a legitimate and honest contractor.
The Roswell Police Department has taken reports from local citizens who have paid money to people claiming to be contractors and promising to do specific work for the customer, but only to end up disappearing during the project or sometimes not even showing up to get the job started. Often, these scam contractors will target the elderly.
RPD reminds citizens to keep these things in mind when dealing with a potential contractor:
- Is the contractor asking for all the money up front before he even starts the job? You shouldn’t pay the contractor more than a small percentage of the total cost up front.
- Make sure the contractor has the appropriate valid license for the work he says he will do. You can check contractors’ New Mexico license status with the state Construction Industries Division (505-476-4700) and can do an online license search at https://public.psiexams.com/search.jsp. You can also see if the contractor has any complaints filed against him with the New Mexico office of the Better Business Bureau (505-346-0110).
- Ask for and check out the contractor’s references. Make sure they include his most recent local projects.
- Deal with local contractors if possible. Ask for a business card and look at the address. This doesn’t ensure legitimacy, but it can make it easier to check them out.
- Get a completed contract in place signed by both you and the contractor. Require all costs to be itemized. Don’t sign anything unless all the blanks and other information are adequately filled in to your liking. Make sure the contract includes a firm price that can only be changed later with your approval. The contractor should not be asking for additional money after he starts the project unless you agree to change aspects of the project after it begins.
Always make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements being made with the contractor. If you are wary of anything, ask questions of the contractor and others (references, state licensing officials, Better Business Bureau). Make sure the contractor has built the proper trust with you before you hand over any money to have him build anything else.