How to spot a dodgy contractor



There has been an increase in complaints against dodgy contractors

Most homeowners are aware of dodgy contractors but are not aware of the severity of the problem. According to our research, CASE first reported a 25% rise in complaints against contractors in 2011. The Straits Times reported in 2013 that: “The number of complaints against errant home-renovation contractors climbed to 1,532 last year, according to newly released figures from the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).  (source:asiaone.com) As a homeowner you need to protect yourself and your investment. So the question is how do you spot a dodgy contractor? 
Our 5 steps get you started:

  • The most obvious way of spotting a dodgy contractor is when they come knocking on your door. Cold calling contractors aren't real contractors. A good and reputable contractor is always busy. So they don't have time to come asking you for work in this way.
  • He'll be really eager to quote quickly and cheaply without even looking at the area or job he's quoting on. He might say that he's doing you a favor or that he has spare materials left over from a previous job that he can use which will save you money. Don't listen to him as it will not ever save you money to employ a contractor like this. Discussing payment up front and make sure that you get everything in writing will secure your position if your expectations aren't met or if things go wrong with the project.
  • Dodgy contractors will never commit to a specific schedule and will rarely sign anything or give you a receipt. They'll ask for payment in cash up-front. Don’t ever agree to pay in full up front. Make sure any payment you make is no more than 30% of the full amount.
  • Always begin with a written quotation. For larger projects you may need to get an architect or designer involved. This will ensure that the plans you put together will work with your existing home and that your contractor has a clear idea forward. Ask to speak to their previous customers and see their work. Then you'll be able to make an informed decision.
  • Make sure to check their licences such as the BCA, EMA, HDB, and PUB. These are especially important if work is done on the electrical, plumbing and gas works.
Even if you follow the checks it doesn't guarantee that you'll get a quality job done. Don't despair though, there are lots of great contractors out there. We can help by finding a contractor for you. We do our best to vet our contractors ensuring they have the necessary qualifications and experience so you don’t have too. We even provide their profile for you to see! After the work is done you get to rate them. Sound good?
 
Note: BCA (Licencing of Builders) All builders carrying out building works where plans are required to be approved by the Commissioner of Building Control and builders who work in specialist areas which have a high impact on public safety will require a Builder’s Licence. The requirement applies to both public and private construction projects.
 

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