You scrimped and saved. You pinned inspiration photos. You drew sketches and shared your plans with friends and family. Now you’re ready to take on that home renovation project. Maybe it’s a small one, like removing a wall or finally updating peeling, outdated paint. Or perhaps you’re adding on an entire room or redoing your kitchen.
Whatever you’re taking on, it’s a lot of pressure to find the right person for the job. The last thing you want is headaches along the way.
To start, you need to find a reliable pro. Our pick to do that is Angi, a sponsor of Kim’s national radio show and a super easy-to-use app that includes genuine user reviews. More on that later. First, the red flags you might have something to worry about.
Signs you hired a bad contractor
There’s nothing worse than entrusting your home, and your money, to someone who isn’t going to leave you with the finished product you’ve been dreaming of. If you haven’t started your project yet or your gut is telling you something is wrong, keep reading.
- The contractor asks for cash. Worst case scenario, your contractor isn’t just sloppy, late or unprofessional — the person is actually just trying to scam you out of money. If he or she refuses to be paid any way other than cash, or offers a huge discount for a cash payment, be wary. Without a check or card payment to track, scammers can get away pretty easily. You should also never pay for a project entirely up front, cash or not.
- They don’t provide insurance info. It’s your responsibility to ensure anyone working on your property is properly insured. Otherwise, you might be liable if someone gets hurt while working on your home. What a mess. Before hiring anyone, ask to see their certifications, licensing and insurance documents. It’s not good enough to get verbal reassurance. Push to see the actual documents, and ask for a copy.
- You find them working under different names. A reliable, reputable company has very few good reasons to change its name. In fact, even one name change could signal there’s an issue. Do a little digital sleuthing. Before you hire a home pro or contractor, head to Google. Look up their name, business name, phone number, address and any other details you can find. Ask how long they have been in business, and look for proof. If you find something concerning, ask about it. Does his or her explanation make sense? If you feel any hesitation, walk away.
- They skip permits. Any major renovation — and many smaller ones — require at least one permit. This includes anything that changes the size of your home, some electrical work, some outdoor upgrades like fencing and some plumbing work. If your contractor assures you no permit is needed for a major job, it’s worth getting a second opinion. Failing to get the right permits ultimately falls on you. Best case, this can add time and money onto your project. Worst case, it reveals the person you trusted has been cutting corners and you may need to have everything redone.
- The updates have stopped. A professional contractor or any other home pro should communicate with you regularly. It’s a major red flag if your contractor hasn’t reached out, is ducking your calls or is otherwise hard to reach. If your gut tells you something is wrong, it very well might be.
Angi: Your secret weapon for any home project
Angi truly takes all the hassle out of hiring contractors. It’s easy to use and connects you with the right people to do things around the house. Kim has used it for everything from finding painters to landscape pros.
Instead of spending hours researching, you can instantly get information on thousands of real professionals. You don’t have to scour the web for reputable sources; with Angi, you can search reviews, request quotes and book your home improvement project all in one place.