"I can do it for a lot less than that"
"I need the money up front for materials"
"We'll be done in no time"
"We can do ANYTHING"
You have heard all the horror stories, most of them a variation of the above quotes.
Fact is most customers have bad experiences with contractors because of something THEY did wrong... Let me explain.
Let's face it, general contractors are a dime a dozen.Some good, some not so good and other are outright shysters. If a prospective customers has had a bad experience with a contractor, it is usually a result of one of the following reasons.
Went for a great deal, i.e. Quality job for a cheap price
Picked a contractor without looking into references or previous projects
Signed an invalid contract or none at all
Gave a deposit to someone without knowing where it was going
Sadly many trusting and good hearted people get burned by a so called 'contractor' every day for one of the above reasons. It doesn't need to be this way.
First, you get what you pay for. If you try to get a project done for a cheap prices, you'll get what a cheap job. My father once said, "You'll never be sorry that you bought the best" and that especially goes for home improvement. Let's face it, doing a home improvement may be the most expensive and valuable thing you spend your hard earned money on. Don't skimp, you'll get what you pay for.
We contractors have all had to start somewhere, learning the carpentry skill as well as the business. But how much of a gamble are you willing to take to see if your contractor will have the experience to be able to deal with construction issues as the project progresses. It is wise to check out their work. Do they have previously completed jobs similar to yours for you to reference.
If the company you hire doesn't have a valid contract, look out! You may not have a legal leg to stand on if they don't show up after being given a draw or for any number of projects that could arise.
NYS law requires that all payments be deposited into a valid escrow account. That means that the company you just hired can not pay bills from other jobs with YOUR money. It also insures that you can get your money back if, God forbid; anything should happen to the contractor before any work is performed. If a contractor is escrowing your draws, it is a good sign he's on the up and up.
So you see, many times it is a results of the customer simply 'not doing their homework' that makes for a bad experience instead of a dream come true.