The prime season for pouring concrete driveways, patios, parking lots, steps, etc., is upon us. With the amount of work that gets done in the next several weeks, there’s also many scammers that will try to get your money. When a scammer comes knocking at your door with a ‘too good to be true’ price and description, chances are, it’s not legitimate. This doesn’t apply just in the concrete industry, but across the entire construction industry. Windows, gutters, roofing, painters, all of these have scammers that are out to get your money.
Here are eight ways to spot a scammer:
Any reputable business does not do cold calls. We will never just knock on your door and ask if you want your driveway re-done. Scam artists have been known to knock on an unsuspecting property owner’s and say something like ‘we have left over concrete; would you like us to fix your front walkway’, or ‘we have extra roofing materials, we can repair your roof today’. That is a tell-tale sign they are not a legitimate contractor.
Not willing to provide references:
Even when you have reached out to a contractor from any reference source, you could still fall victim to a scam. If they are unwilling or unable to provide any references, then you should avoid them. A reputable, established company, like E & K Contractors will be happy to provide references.
High-pressure sales tactics:
For instance, if they say, ‘we can do your concrete steps for this price, but only if we do the job today’, that’s a scam. When we give a quote for your job, it is a solid quote, and there’s not a today-only offer meant to entice you to make an impulsive decision.
In most cases, a low-ball price gives you a low-quality job. Always get more than one estimate. Along with that, be wary of cash discounts.
Check their vehicle:
If the plates are out of state, just shut the front door. Of course, in our area, Michigan plates are normal. A company from a more distant state, like Florida, Texas, etc., we recommend you tell them to keep on going. If there’s no name and/or phone number on the truck or van, have them keep moving down the road. They are not for you.
High upfront cost:
Be wary if the contractor requires more than a very large portion of the total cost up front. Large initial payments are more typical when it comes to items like cabinetry, ceramic tiles, and other special-order items.
Surveying the job:
Pay attention to how long the contractor spends examining and measuring the job you want done. For instance, If a bidding contractor just eyeballs the job and says, ‘We did a job just like this and I’ll charge you the same,’ or if he doesn’t take notes and measurements and make material and labor calculations, you may be dealing with a contractor who isn’t thorough enough to do a good job.
Finally, read their business card. If they list no physical address, then have them move along. Reputable companies offer more than a P.O. box. Also, if their card only lists a cell phone, be cautious. We realize that many people and companies are relying more on simply a cell phone, but most companies still have an office number, and don’t ordinarily give out just their cell phone numbers.
These eight ways to spot a scammer can keep you from avoiding the pitfalls of a poor job, or from having your money taken, and no job done at all. The busy season for concrete work is almost upon us. We are happy to come out and quote your job. By working with us, you can rest assured you will not fall prey to a scammer.