Your Location (Change)
TruBlue of Plymouth & Maple Grove
How to Spot & Avoid Common Home Repair & Handyman Scams in Minnesota

How to Spot & Avoid Common Home Repair & Handyman Scams

Every homeowner in Minnesota will take part in a project, at some point, to maintain and/ or repair their property. That is a normal and important part of home ownership.  While many contractors in Minnesota are trustworthy professionals, the unfortunate reality is that scams in the home repair industry are not uncommon, even more so for seniors. These scams can range from overcharging for simple fixes to performing unnecessary work that adds no real value to the home. Being able to recognize and avoid home improvement scams is crucial for homeowners in Minnesota who wish to protect their investments and ensure that their homes remain safe and well-maintained. This blog post aims to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools necessary to spot common home repair scams and make informed decisions when hiring professionals for their home repair, home improvement, and home maintenance needs.

According to the National Consumers League and the Federal Trade Commission, home repair and improvement scams rank among the top five complaints they receive annually. In fact, a recent survey indicates that nearly 1 in 6 Americans have been the victim of a home repair scam, with seniors being disproportionately targeted. This alarming statistic underscores the importance of vigilance and due diligence when selecting home improvement contractors in Minnesota for your home project needs.

Identifying the Red Flags

Navigating the waters of finding and hiring a reputable home improvement contractor in Plymouth and the surrounding Minnesota area can be overwhelming, with so many factors to consider to ensure your home is treated with care and your project is completed satisfactorily. That's why it's crucial to be aware of the red flags that might signal a home improvement scam. In this section of the post, we'll guide you through these signs so you can make informed decisions, with more confidence.

Demanding Payment Upfront

One of the most glaring red flags of a potential scam involves home improvement contractors who demand significant payment upfront before any work has begun. While it's common practice for professionals to request a small deposit to secure their services and material, be wary of those asking for more than 35-40% of the total cost in advance. Scammers often take deposit money and disappear, leaving the homeowner out of pocket and the job unfinished. Always negotiate a payment plan that allows the majority of the payment to be made upon completion of the project.

Lack of Identification or Credentials

Another potential scam to look out for is when a contractor or handyman lacks proper identification, business license, or insurance. Legitimate professionals will  have no issue providing these documents upon request. A reputable contractor or home repair business will be licensed, bonded and insured  to protect both themselves and their clients in case of accidents or damage during the home repair process. Always ask to see proof of credentials and insurance, and consider verifying the home modification business with the issuing authorities to ensure they are valid and up-to-date.

Working with a home improvement contractor that does not carry business licenses or insurance could cost you more than just money. If an uninsured worker gets injured while working on your property, you could be held liable for any medical expenses and may even face legal action. Save yourself this hassle and work with a professional home improvement agency, like TruBlue.

Pressure Tactics

It is not uncommon for home improvement scammers to employ high-pressure sales tactics to compel homeowners into making quick decisions without due diligence. They may insist that a special offer is available only for a limited time or exaggerate the severity of potential issues to create unnecessary panic. Remember, reputable professionals understand the importance of giving potential clients time to think over their decisions and are more likely to encourage you to seek other estimates rather than rushing you into a service agreement. Be extra cautious of contractors who show up unannounced at your doorstep, offering their services for a reduced cost.

Suspiciously Low Bids

Be cautious of contractors who bid significantly lower than the market rate for a particular repair or home improvement job. While it may seem tempting to save money, these lowball offers often indicate that the contractor may use substandard materials, cut corners, or charge extra fees as the project progresses, leading to a much higher overall cost. It's advisable to obtain multiple bids from different service providers to get a sense of what a reasonable price range should be. If one bid comes in considerably lower than the others, it's a potential red flag that shouldn't be ignored.

Lack of References or Positive Reviews

A reputable contractor or home improvement agency will have a trail of satisfied customers and positive feedback. Their past work often serves as a testament to their professionalism, skill, and reliability. If a service provider cannot offer references or if their online reviews are scarce or predominantly negative, take it as a cautionary signal. It’s essential to conduct your own research by reading through reviews on unbiased platforms and asking for direct references whom you can speak with. This step not only ensures that you're hiring a professional with a proven track record of happy customers but also provides peace of mind knowing that your home is in capable hands.

Here are a few of the reviews we have received recently at TruBlue Plymouth & Maple Grove. 

We had an excellent experience with TruBlue. They were friendly and very easy to work with. They outlined our options and helped us through the process in deciding the best choice for us. I didn't feel any pressure to pick a specific option. The handyman was kind and respectful, he showed up on time and gave us updates about his progress for the day. TruBlue was quick to respond to us and showed up to do the work the very next day. I would absolutely recommend them to others and would use them again in the future.

Tyler C. 

I called TruBlue this morning and, happily, my projects are already complete! I look forward to working with the TrueBlue team again in the new year.

Kathy H. 

Steps to Avoiding Home Improvement Scams

Finding a reputable and reliable contractor in Plymouth and the surrounding Minnesota area is not a matter of luck; it's the result of diligent research and an informed approach. Here’s how you can ensure you’re making the best choice for your home, wallet, and your peace of mind.

Conduct Thorough Research

Start by conducting detailed research. Look for contractors with strong reputations in your community. A home improvement contractor who has consistently delivered quality service will have a positive footprint—be it through word-of-mouth, online reviews, or a portfolio of previous work. Don’t hesitate to ask for references and follow up on them. This step isn't just about ensuring skill but also about verifying reliability and trustworthiness.

Read Reviews with a Critical Eye

When you're browsing through reviews, it's important to read them carefully. Keep in mind that while every home improvement business is subject to a mix of positive and negative reviews, it's the consistency in the feedback that truly matters. Look for patterns in what past clients have praised or criticized. This can give you insight into the contractor's work ethic, quality of work, and how they handle challenges or setbacks. Should you encounter a negative review, pay attention to how the contractor responded. A professional and considerate response to criticism speaks volumes about a company's commitment to customer satisfaction and their integrity in addressing concerns. At TrueBlue, we take pride in our transparent approach to client feedback. We consider it not just as a metric of performance but as a vital tool for continuous improvement and excellence in service delivery.

Schedule Multiple Consultations

Don’t settle on the first contractor you come across. Schedule consultations with at least three to get diverse perspectives on your project. Use these meetings to gauge their professionalism, communication skills, and enthusiasm for your project. It’s also an excellent opportunity to ask detailed questions about their approach to timelines, cost estimates, and resolving any potential challenges that might arise during the project.

Verify Licenses, Insurance, and Warranties

A trustworthy contractor will readily provide proof of licensing, liability insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. These documents not only confirm their legitimacy but also protect you from potential liabilities. Furthermore, inquire about warranties or guarantees they offer on their workmanship. This not only demonstrates their commitment to quality but also provides you with peace of mind.

Understand the Financials

Being clear about the financial aspects is crucial. Ensure you understand the billing structure, payment terms, and any financing options they might offer. A detailed, written estimate or proposal is your best tool for preventing unexpected costs and confirms that both parties have a clear understanding of the project scope and costs.

Communication Is Key

Throughout your project, maintaining open lines of communication with your contractor is vital. A professional worth their salt will make themselves available to discuss your concerns, provide updates, and adjust plans as necessary. Their commitment to communication reflects their overall approach to customer satisfaction and project success.

By approaching the process with patience, persistence, and the right knowledge, finding the right contractor for your home repairs or improvements can be a straightforward and rewarding experience. Remember, taking the time to select the right professional not only protects your home investment but also ensures a partnership that brings your vision to life with respect, quality, and integrity.

TruBlue Plymouth & Maple Grove: Total Transparency From Start to Finish

TruBlue’s handyman and home repair services help you maintain your home both inside and out. Whether you need us for a special project or ongoing maintenance, our services include handyman projects and to-do list chores, preventative home maintenance programs, seasonal work, and senior modification services, all handled by a professional, background checked, bonded and insured Tru-Pro® Technician. From the start of a home project to completion, you can expect transparency and honesty from our team. Our Tru-Pro® Technicians will communicate with you every step of the way to ensure your satisfaction and trust. 

To speak to a member of our team about your home project, call 763-400-3748.