How to Spot a Bad Contractor

It’s important to feel comfortable with your home builder. With so many contractors to choose from, you want to be sure the one you welcome into your home is highly reputable.

According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints against home improvement and repair contractors are among the most common consumer complaints received. Reports range from high-pressure sales tactics and confusion over contract terms, to poor or incomplete workmanship and overcharging for the work provided.

We often get a gut feeling if someone is trying to pull one over on us, but that’s not always the case. Some bad contractors are very likable at first and promise you great things in a short amount of time.

Unprofessional and disreputable contractors can be easy to spot if you know what to look for, and if you don’t let the temptation of a conspicuously low price keep you from seeing the warning signs.

  • Be cautious of the contractor who uses high-pressure sales tactics, sells his or her services door-to-door, or who offers a quick price reduction when you refuse the initial bid.
  • A professional contractor is licensed in your city. Ask to see the license. They should also have proper insurance coverage and won’t hesitate to share references.
  • A good contractor is also punctual, clean and organized. It’s best to work with an established local company with a good reputation that offers detailed estimates and schedules in writing, and guarantees completion dates.
  • Beware of the contractor who doesn’t offer a long-term warranty on their work, asks you to pay for everything upfront, demands that you pull permits, and who presents a bid or schedule that seems too good to be true (because it probably is).
  • Good contractors tend to be busy, so be suspicious of a contractor who has a lot of free time on his or her hands and can start immediately.
  • Even in the age of smart phones and tablets, reputable contractors should also have a physical address and a listed telephone number, otherwise it implies they have no real place of business and may be a fly-by-night operation. This scenario spells big trouble, particularly for larger, more complex projects that require intense management.

To research a contractor’s customer ratings and reviews, visit the regional Better Business Bureau’s website at, or contact the Home Builders Association of Northern Colorado.

By paying attention to a few simple clues and asking good questions, you can feel more confident in your choice of a trustworthy contractor. Good contractors don’t mind fielding tough questions.

If you or someone you know is thinking about remodeling an existing home, or perhaps building new, contact HighCraft for a free, no-risk consultation.