Funny business is not just for comedians. And just because a someone looks like a home contractor, does not mean that he isn't a stooge and that the joke won't be on you if you don't do some due diligence before handing them money to fix up your home.
Sure spring is the time for birds, flowers, and baseball. It is also high season for contractor scams .
Just weeks after you've shoveled the last snow off your driveway, there's likely to be a nice, clean-cut guy ringing your doorbell saying he's got his work crew down the street painting or waterproofing or recoating asphalt and they've got lots of extra product left and he'll do your place for 50% off if you agree to the job today and pay in cash.
Since you're in the mood to get the house cleaned up, and you don't feel like going to Home Depot, you agree. They show up, do their work and they're gone before sundown. Then after a few weeks you notice that paint job is looking a little thin after a spring shower, and the recoated driveway is also fading fast.
And that contractor? Gone to the next town looking to pull the same job.
"As long as there are houses, there will be contractor scams," says Frank Walker, a Seattle-based fraud investigator. "It takes some intuition and common sense to weed them out."
Figuring out if the tradesman at your door is trying to swindle you may not be as easy as you think. He's not necessarily the guy in a beat-up truck and greasy overalls. "Many of them have shiny new vehicles and equipment and they make a great professional appearance," says Roger Hays with the Contractors State Licensing Board of California. "Some of these guys make a very nice living."