9 Warning Signs of Bad Contractors and How to Deal With Them

how to detect warning signs in contractors

A well-organized and effectively executed property maintenance is one of the key success factors for any commercially successful property, especially if you are in charge of single-family homes that require consistent maintenance for functionality and an elevated curb appeal. However, while there are many aspects to maintenance and preservation, most of the tasks included are extremely time-consuming and require constant involvement to manage everything effectively and right on time.

All in all, prioritizing property maintenance and preservation will only be a long-term investment into your own business and elevate your single-family property significantly. However, when it comes to maintenance, not only is consistency an essential factor but also the quality of the work that’s being done which will either upgrade the house and grow your business or have the opposite effect if done unprofessionally.

This is why it is important to be alert and recognize poor quality and unprofessionalism before it’s too late and you have financial losses and further implications caused by working with bad contractors. 

Working in the real estate industry, many professionals now prefer outsourced maintenance over keeping in-house staff, and the reasons for this are many. First of all, outsourcing all the services provides the flexibility that many real estate brokers look for. Having multiple properties in different locations, outsourcing helps find contractors in each area who know all local laws and regulations and come to work with their own equipment, which is not only flexible but also more cost-efficient. Outsourcing also frees them from all the long recruitment procedures and organizational chaos, providing an effective system that gives them more free time to focus on their listings and rest easy knowing all the job is being handled professionally. This is why it is no wonder that outsourcing all maintenance services is getting more and more popular in real estate. 

Unfortunately, with all the advantages outsourcing offers, it also has a drawback that requires awareness and attention, which is hiring bad contractors and ending up with poor-quality services. While there are professional and licensed contractors out there ready to deliver excellent services, there are also the ones who are not qualified and can only complicate your business. This is why it is important to be alert when hiring contractors and recognize all the red flags of bad contractors so that you end up hiring only the best ones for your projects. Let’s go over the most important warning signs of bad contractors and how to deal with them. 

1. They avoid signing the contract/ offer a weak contract

The first thing to consider is the importance of a written contract before starting anything. The contract will protect both parties and ensure everything is done professionally. This is why avoiding a written contract or offering a weak one is the biggest warning sign that the contractor is unprofessional and should be avoided. 

2. They don’t provide references

One thing we know from our long experience is that a good contractor should have references from previous jobs. If they were professional and delivered good services in the past, then getting references should not be a problem at all. 

3. They have bad reviews or no reviews at all

Just like references, reviews are also important, and most professional and reliable contractors today have plenty of reviews available online. So, if the contractor has no reviews at all, then be more alert and try to find out as much as possible before hiring them. And while no reviews are suspicious, bad reviews should immediately signal to step back and not move further with the contractor. 

4. They offer extremely low prices

Working with contractors can be cost-efficient and affordable, however, extremely low prices are usually worth double-checking. Even if you’re looking for affordable options, going with the lowest bid is not a good idea, since cheap prices signal a lack of experience and license.  

5. Poor communication

Good communication is a key factor when it comes to professional contractors. Being open to communication and showing high responsiveness are essential, and if the contractor lacks these qualities and is taking too long to respond, then you should be more cautious. This is why it is much better to pay attention to their communication skills before signing any contracts with contractors. 

6. They don’t meet the deadlines

If you already work with a contractor but something feels off, then this point can also be a huge warning sign. Meeting all deadlines with the highest quality is the most important skill of a good contractor, and if your contractor fails to meet the deadlines or does incomplete jobs, then they are most likely not professional and reliable to work with. 

7. They don’t come with the necessary tools and equipment 

One of the advantages of working with contractors is that they come fully equipped with all the necessary tools for the project, and you can save a lot of time and effort by not having to run around and get the right equipment. If the contractor doesn’t come with the necessary tools, then this should be an immediate warning sign of unprofessionalism and bad quality. 

8. No license and/or insurance 

When it comes to property maintenance and preservation contractors, having proper licenses and insurance are essential to getting jobs in the industry. This is why all professional contractors have their licenses and insurance copies readily available to provide at any given time. That said, if the contractor avoids providing these documents, then this should be an instant sign to not move forward with them and look for a more reliable contractor. 

9. They ask for full payment 

If this is your first experience hiring a contractor, then one thing you should know is that down payments are common, and most contractors will ask for a specific amount to take care of all materials and prepare for the job. However, the appropriate amount to pay upfront usually ranges from 25% to 30% of the full payment. If the contractor asks for more or the full amount (which is even worse), then it can signal their inexperience and unreliability, so make sure you don’t get scammed. 

Thus, if you’re still in the process of hiring contractors for your maintenance projects, then these warning signs will help you along the process and ensure you get the most reliable contractors. Just keep all 9 points in mind and make sure the contractor you end up hiring has all the information and documentation prepared. However, if you already work with a contractor who has these warning signs, then you should take action immediately to not lose more money in the long run. In this case, firing the contractor is the most optimal decision, and you should go for it by providing them with all the reasons. Even if firing a contractor mid-job seems risky, it will do you more damage if you continue working with them. However, if there are certain points in the contract preventing you from firing them, make sure you consult with an attorney to find the right way to end all business with them. 

Having all these warning signs in mind will also help you identify the most reliable contractors who will provide not only the highest quality but also a good work ethic and responsibility. Some other important qualities of a good contractor are their responsiveness in communication, time-efficiency in meeting all deadlines and delivering complete maintenance and preservation services, and following all the local and state regulations properly. Remember that contractors should simplify your work and help you in your projects instead of causing additional stress and expenses. This is why reliability and experience are what you should prioritize when hiring contractors.