Contractor red flags

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager


There are so many contractors to choose from for your home improvement projects, that it can be overwhelming combing through who to hire.  When working with a contractor, there are many things that homeowners have concerns about, and want to know. There are certain things that you as a homeowner can do to do catch any “Red flags” that you may get from your contractor, and address them before a major issue arises.

If we haven’t met before allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Back 40 Landscaping and our expertise is in retaining walls and hardscaping. We also like to bring education to those looking for retaining wall solutions.

They don’t require a contract

A contract is put in place to keep both you and your contractor safe in the event that something goes awry on your job.  When you have a contract, both you and your contractor should have a copy to refer to in the event that there is a discrepancy in the work being done. Contracts should have payment terms on them, and go over the scope of work for the job.

They tell you that permits are not needed

While this can be the case for certain jobs, a good contractor will let you know during the quoting stage if a permit is needed for your project or not. Without a proper permit, there is a possibility that the entire job that has been done will need to be taken down and redone with the proper permits. Avoid this by asking them if permits are needed.

They rush your job

A contractor that shows up and gets the job done on time is great, we all want our project to be done in a timely manner. However, if a job gets done too quickly and is rushed, steps may have been missed or cut to “hurry” up the job. You will be able to tell quite early on in the job if your contractor takes their time doing the project the “right” way, or if they are trying to just get out of there as quickly as possible. If they are rushing your job, you may have to have things redone in the future.

The job site is a mess

While landscaping projects and excavation can make a big mess of tearing up your yard, the overall look of the site should be kept as clean as possible. At the end of each day, the site should be cleared of all garbage, and any machines should be parked away if possible. We are not saying that the site should be completely clean, this is not possible for an excavation project, but you will be able to see if the contractors are trying to keep the site as tidy as possible, or if they have no regard for you property.

They do not have insurance or a business license

If your contractor does not have insurance or license, this is a huge red flag. You want your contractor to be covered if an accident happens on your property, because you do not want to be held liable, should something happen.

They ask for the full payment upfront

Payment schedules are put in place for a reason. A good contractor will require a deposit, and then payments made after certain “milestones”, such as the first day of the job, in the middle of the project, and on the last day of the job. If a big chunk of material needs to be bought, your contractor may require more money up front, but they should not be asking for the entire payment to be remedied before they start your job.

Before hiring a contractor, do your homework and make sure that the person you are hiring to do your job is reputable, has insurance, and has a proper contract in place.