Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is asking residents to be cautious when hiring contractors as detectives are investigating multiples instances of alleged contractor fraud.
To avoid becoming a victim, never make a large down payment to a contractor prior to any work beginning. If required to make any down payment, it should be minimal. Beware of a contractor requiring a large down payment in order to purchase materials to begin your project. You should make payments as work is completed, but never pay for incomplete work, and hold final payment until all work is completed. Never pay in cash.
Before hiring, verify a contractor is licensed by using the “contractor search” on www.LAcontractor.org. Only work with licensed contractors, and ask your contractor for three references in writing. Speak to the references and ask if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work and whether the contractor was on schedule.
Here are some additional tips when hiring a contractor from the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors:
- Plan your project. Detail what you want to have done and who you will need to complete it. No two projects are the same and may require a specially licensed contractor.
- Get two or three estimates. When comparing estimates, don’t just compare the overall cost. Look at the cost and quality of materials, and be sure it includes total price and cost of materials.
- Require a written contract. The contract should detail the description of work, material, and equipment to be installed. Be sure there is a timeline for payments and completion of work.
- Monitor the work. Check in regularly on the progress of the work. Any and all permits should be displayed by the contractor while work is being done.
In addition to these tips, investigators say you should keep a file of all papers and documents pertaining to the project. This includes the contract, any written changes, all bills and invoices, receipts of payments, and all correspondence with your contractor. This should also include photos of the job in progress.
Citizens should beware of any contractor using scare tactics or high-pressure sales pitches, and door-to-door solicitations. Citizens should also be especially wary of contractors who demand cash, unusually large down payments, and verbal agreements.