MSNBC Investigates

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  #1  
Old 12-09-07, 08:29 PM
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MSNBC Investigates

Anyone watch tonight's edition called "Home Wreckers"? There are some real sleaze bags out there disguised as home improvement contractors. You have to be sympathetic for the people they cheat and wonder why they're still out on the street.

Cops will bust some guy for selling a dime bag on the street corner and a judge will throw him in prison, but these guys take people for thousands of dollars and they're still operating and driving their new pickups and living in million dollar homes.

Moral of the story I guess is that if you are hiring a contractor be verrrry careful.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-09-07, 08:54 PM
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Unfortunately their are contractors (lets lump everyone from handyman to remodelers and homebuilders, to electricians, plumbers and low voltage /alarm here) who will rip you off intentionally, and there are those who just don't know what they're doing. Fortunately they are the mminority, unfortunately people get taken, one way or another.

It definitely urks the rest of us, who try and do a good job for a fair price, and stand behind our work.
 
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Old 12-10-07, 04:57 AM
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The sad thing is often the crooks are the ones with the best sales talk while sometimes the tradesmen with the best work are the least able to sell their job to a prospective customer.

IMO word of mouth is the best, most accurate advertising. It's always best to check references and when possible hire a contractor that has personally done good work for someone you know.
 
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Old 12-10-07, 07:25 AM
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Mark - that was one of the things that really struck me. Of the 8 -10 guys they profiled they pretty much were all cast from the same mold. They were all sweet talkers and unapologetic when confronted.

It was also surprising how many were registered sex offenders or convicted felons. All had their licenses revoked or suspended, most had been busted several times and yet they are still out there cheating people.

Also, most of them were uninsured meaning if they gfet hurt while working on your house you're probably going to get sued.
 
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Old 12-10-07, 07:04 PM
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You guys are right. Most of my work is word of mouth. I don't like to cold call, I'm not comfortable until I get to know people. It's a lot easier if they called me.

I'm a cynic, so sales pitches don't work well on me. But they do on a lot of people.

One of my selling points is that all my techs and installers are employees, with workers comp and liability ins.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 06:37 AM
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This is why homeowners need to arm themselves with KNOWLEDGE. Now that we have our trusted contractors to hire, we are no longer interviewing folks but let me tell you it's hilarious to see the look on these con artists' faces when lil' miss homeowner can intelligently discuss the project. It also saved us thousands of dollars.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 07:31 AM
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Although I do most of my own projects, I have an electrician and a handyman that I absolutely trust. I try to give them as much work as I can and recommend them whenever I can.
 
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Old 12-11-07, 09:08 AM
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On DIY network at 6pm on weekdays, they have a show called Holmes on Homes. It is based in Canada. I am nowhere near a pro at home construction, but some of the houses that they show kinda makes me wonder how people find these contractors. Some of the problems make it look like the homeowner had no clue what the contractor was doing.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 04:17 AM
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CW, I often have to follow those guys who mess up jobs and get them straight, after they take the money and run. You would be surprised to know how many of these people ask me if I want them to pay me up front. I always reply "you didn't learn the first time???". I never take money up front (unless there are alot of materials involved). It goes a long way to let your customers know you are reputable, since you don't make money unless you finish the job and do it good.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
I never take money up front (unless there are alot of materials involved). It goes a long way to let your customers know you are reputable
I agree!!!!
I would assume any contractor that needed/requested payment upfront wasn't competent enough to have credit at the material store - not someone I'd want to do business with. I would also assume my customers would think the same.

A customers best recourse is always the unpaid balance!
 
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Old 12-14-07, 11:24 AM
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It depends on the length and size of the job. Alot of my stuff is special order, since we do a lot of custom stuff. So I want a deposit. Also, some people are slow to pay, and other jobs spread over a long time, so I take draws or deposits. I was always told not to finance the customers job. And I still do to often.

However, we've been here ten years, 5 in the same commercial location, and have a slew of Fortune 500 and even 100 companies, as clients / references.

But you definitely want to check references, I do. And I give out a sheet with about 50 references, commercial, financial, gov't and builder customers.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
I agree!!!!
I would assume any contractor that needed/requested payment upfront wasn't competent enough to have credit at the material store - not someone I'd want to do business with. I would also assume my customers would think the same.
So, if a VERY competent contractor has started his business recently, and has not had the time to establish credit at the suppliers, you would brand him as incompetent and go somewhere else? That is very narrow thinking.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 01:03 PM
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Most anyone with a good business mind should already have some credit before starting a business. Not counting side jobs, i've been regularly self employed at 2 different times in 2 different states. I never had any problems establishing credit at a paint store!

I know there are always exceptions to the rule but any contractor that lacks credit should be looked at a LOT closer before being hired.
 
  #14  
Old 12-14-07, 04:52 PM
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I always ask to see the contractors license and his insurance. A legitimate contractor won't have a problem with that. Most of the guys covered in this report had their licenses revoked years ago. One guy was working using another guys license. The other guy was a convicted sex offender.

I don't have a problem fronting money. That's because when I have a contractor doing some work I know he's one of the good guys. I have a handyman that does work for me every now and then. He's really good and dependable. He's also busy all the time. I know he doesn't need the up front money but IMO it's just business. He's done 5-6 jobs for me in the last 15 years. We still put it all down in writing. We've never had a problem.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 04:28 AM
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I'll go back on my previous post and include what Integrator said about draws. I do require draws on larger projects, but that is mainly to take care of materials and paying my guys as we go along. The company money doesn't get paid until the job is finished. Little of my work involves long drawn out projects, so for the most part, I use my supply house credit for materials. I don't think Marksr's thinking was flawed regarding a contractor's ability to perform effectively without credit being established. It doesn't take an act of Congress to establish credit at a bank if your previous credit was good. And a big box account is good at any of the locations, so if you have that you can, at least get going.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 10:32 AM
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On my earlier post I mentioned that "Holmes on Homes" was on DIY network. It is actually on Discovery Home network. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused anyone.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nightowlpunk View Post
On my earlier post I mentioned that "Holmes on Homes" was on DIY network. It is actually on Discovery Home network. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused anyone.
I spent days upon days staying awake constantly watching the DIY network, trying to find it, planning my sleep patterns so they would be different than last week, calling in sick, using vacation time , trying to find it. Thanks alot man!

 
  #18  
Old 12-27-07, 01:28 PM
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I better put my boots on - it's getting deep
 
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