5 Signs of a Bad Contractor: Red Flags to Watch Out For

Maybe you’ve had a run-in with a bad contractor at some point, or perhaps you’ve just heard horror stories from your friends and neighbors. Either way, knowing the signs of a bad contractor can help you watch for red flags and know when to hit the brakes on a project.

It can be a bit daunting if you’re new to working with contractors and doing home renovations. While we wish everyone out there were trustworthy and honest, the unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of contractors out there with less-than-good intentions. Knowing the signs of a bad contractor will help you stay safe.

Image shows two people wearing orange safety vests shaking over plans for a project laid out on a wood table.

The Hazards of Working with a Bad Contractor

How bad is working with a bad contractor? It’s frankly terrible—even to the point of being dangerous. Not only can a bad contractor cost you a bundle, but you can end up damaging and even destroying your home. In the worst cases, contractors who aren’t trustworthy can end up being dangerous by making unsafe renovations—ultimately putting you and your family at risk!

Not to be too dramatic or frightening about contractors, but after over 35 years in the home renovations and remodeling business, we’ve seen and heard many terrible tales of contractors gone wrong. Often, we get called in to fix what a contractor didn’t do right the first time, and sometimes the homeowner has already invested a lot of time, money, and stress into the situation.

While we’re always happy to help fix what a bad contractor might have started, we’d love to do the job right for you the first time. At Weather Tight, we understand that you have options out there, but we also know that our reputation is solid. It’s one of the reasons why we’re Wisconsin’s most recommended home renovator. So reach out today, and we’ll give you support you can trust.

For more on why choosing a contractor you can trust is crucial, don’t miss this video from Tod and Todd. In it, they point out some of the most common issues that come up with ne’er-do-well contractors.


In the meantime, if you’re looking for a reputable contractor to help with a home renovation project, here are 5 red flags that can help you avoid some of the dangers of making a bad choice in contractors.

5 Bad Contractor Red Flags

Research is essential when looking for a good contractor you can trust. It’s crucial that you seek out a reputable contractor. Don’t just look for someone who offers you a lowball price. While they may undercut the competition, they can cost you much more in the long run.

1. They Have Many Bad Reviews

Bad reviews happen to everyone. Sometimes a customer might have a bad day, and even reputable companies get bad reviews every so often. A few reviews often aren’t much to worry about, but it’s a big red flag if the reviews are overwhelmingly negative. Be sure to check with reputable sites like the Better Business Bureau and Angi to see if the company is also endorsed or graded by these consumer protection agencies.

2. They Ask You to Pay Up Front

Many reputable contractors may request that you put down some money upfront. It’s common to require a deposit or a portion of the job cost ahead of the work. However, if a contractor asks (or demands) that you pay the whole amount up front, you should steer clear!

3. They Won’t Put it in Writing

If a contractor doesn’t offer you a contract that outlines all the work they will perform, you should be wary. Over the course of a job, some issues and snags can occasionally arise that may require additional work, but contractors should make a good-faith effort to write out the details of a job up front so you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

4. The Time Frame is Unclear

Delays are relatively common in the home construction and renovation business. Schedule your project well in advance to enjoy more flexibility. Even companies that work with top-of-the-line products can hit supply chain glitches. Still, a reputable contractor should be able to give you a reasonably accurate timeframe outlining when your job will begin and how long the work will take once it’s started.

5. The Offer Seems Too Good to Be True

Unfortunately, if an offer from a contractor seems too good to be true, it often is. Many bad contractors tend to overpromise and underdeliver. They may try to undercut the competition by promising low prices but fail to include all job costs. They may also use subpar products or cut corners that could void warranties and lead to large, expensive issues down the road. Trust your gut and compare prices. Don’t choose the cheapest offer if it doesn’t pass muster.

At Weather Tight, we’re proud of our integrity and reputation as Wisconsin’s most recommended home remodeler. We’ve been in this industry for a long time, and we’ve seen many bad contractors come and go. We do our research, and we’re careful to offer only the best products and services you can count on.

If you’re looking for a reputable home remodeler for windows, doors, roofing, siding, and more and live in the Southeastern Wisconsin area, Weather Tight has you covered! Reach out today to learn more about our services and how we can help you increase your curb appeal and feel happy and satisfied with your home updates!