Avoid being scammed by unscrupulous contractors

Louisiana residents are well aware of the dangers of hurricanes and flooding; they should also be aware of the dangers of unscrupulous contractors. To help consumers avoid problems, the Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors has published these guidelines. Pay particular attention to item #3.
1. Plan Your Project. Detail out what you want done and who you will need to do it.
2. Get 2-3 Estimates. When comparing estimates from different contractors, don’t just compare the bottom line cost; look at the cost and quality of materials for each one. Be sure the estimate includes the total price, the cost of labor and materials, a timetable for payments and the expected date of completion.
3. ALWAYS HIRE A LICENSED CONTRACTOR. Verify the contractor’s license and their identification. A contractor must be licensed or registered to bid and/or perform work in the state of Louisiana! Visit “Contractor Search” on www.LAContractor.org to check the status of the contractor’s license, and only work with contractors who are currently licensed in the state of Louisiana. Ask your contractor for three references in writing and check them. When speaking with the references ask if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work, if the contractor kept to the schedule and the contract terms.
5. Require a written contract. Be sure you understand the contract before you sign it; the contract should contain the same details as on the estimate. Any changes should be noted in writing. Take a photo of the contractor, their driver’s license and the license plate of their vehicle. Any and all permits should be displayed by the contractor while the work is being done.
6. Don’t make a large down payment. The payment you make in order for work to begin should be minimal. Beware of a contractor who is asking for a large payment to purchase materials.
7. Make payments as work is completed. Follow the payment schedule in the contract. Never pay for something that has not been completed; do not pay in cash, and don’t pay with a check made out to cash.
8. Monitor the job. Check in regularly and take photos of the work in progress.
9. Don’t make the final payment until everything on the job is complete and you are satisfied with the work. Verify that any and all liens have been released.
10. Keep all paperwork related to your job. This includes the contract, any written changes, all bills and invoices, receipts of payments and all emails and texts with your contractor. This should also include photos of the job.

This information is provided courtesy of the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors www.lslbc.louisiana.gov. See more valuable information at www.lslbc.louisiana.gov and www.lacontractor.org and download a mobile app at www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/mobile-app/