Part 6 of: Want to Start A Home Repair / Remodeling Business?


“Don’t Be an Environmental Disaster.”

“Don’t Be an Environmental Disaster.”

Say you are in a home, replacing those ugly acoustic tiles that have covered the rec room ceiling for 20 years. Early into the job you realize that the tiles contain asbestos. If you’re responsible, you’ll insist that the poisonous materials be taken out by a licensed asbestos-removal contractor. This will take time and could cost your customer thousands of dollars; if you’re not honest, you can ask for an extra few hundred bucks to do the job yourself.

The problem with the latter solution: Even if you are the contractor don’t make a mistake and release particles of cancer-causing dust into the air in or around their home, the long-term repercussions are serious and may have legal consequences — for you as well as the home owner. Contractors who aren’t licensed to deal with such materials can’t dispose of them at licensed (and, thus, safe) facilities, says Ross Edward, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. If hazardous materials aren’t disposed of properly, they could leach into soil and ground water. And if you the contractor gets caught dumping toxic materials this way, the home owner as well may be liable, since the pollution came from his property. “These days,” Edward says, “the homeowner has just as much responsibility for the environment as any factory owner.”

Expecting you do your job right is not an unrealistic expectation from the customer. To many hacks make the good contractors get a bad rep so do your job RIGHT and everything will go well.  One or more customers have been quoted as saying, “ If my job wasn’t so far overdue and done RIGHT the first time I would have gladly paid the additional funds requested even though I found out later I should not have to”.


Just Look At The Example Below

… so I can take your money and run.” Mark Zarrilli decided to enhance his Wall, N.J., home by putting a new path around his swimming pool. It was an $11,000 job, and he paid $7,000 upfront to the contractors — supposedly for materials. “They brought somebody in to do the preliminary brickwork, then played a duck-and-run game for three months,” Zarrilli says. “They’d tell me the truck broke down, the wife was sick, the cement company couldn’t deliver. I’ll never get my money back.” Zarrilli took the dispute to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, who charged the contractor with theft by deception. (The contractor eventually pleaded guilty.)

Mark Herr, former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, calls this alleged scam “spiking the job,” and it’s one of the worst possible outcomes when you’ve signed a contract that includes a front-loaded payment schedule. “By completing a little bit of the work, they can face only civil rather than criminal charges,” Herr says. You might get sucked into such a scenario if your contractor tells you — like Zarrilli’s did — that the upfront cash is for materials. “


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