12 On Your Side: Advice for hiring contractors

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Angela Flynn has been living in the middle of chaos for four long months.

In January, Flynn said she hired contractor CJ McCollum to remodel her home. She paid him more than $7,000 to paint, tile and to do cabinetry, plumbing and electrical work.

"We signed a contract on Jan. 11, and I put him out of my house on March the 27th," she said.

Flynn fired McCollum after months of waiting on him to a finish job that she considers sub-standard. She says he painted over wallpaper, did not fill in holes and did not lie tile down evenly.

"It was horrible; we couldn't open he pantry door and the contractor's solution was to shave off the bottom of the door," she complained.

Flynn's tile looks great now but only after spending another few thousand dollars to have someone else redo it. As far as a the paint job goes, an estimate shows it would cost her another $7,000 to fix McCollum's work.

"I could have done this on a weekend and saved my money," Flynn said.

McCollum turned down an on-camera interview but his attorney sent this statement: "Mr. McCollum was hired by Ms. Flynn after she fired a previous contractor. Initially, the job was to be completed in two to three weeks, but Ms. Flynn increased the scope of the work during construction. Near the end of the job, without any prior complaints, Ms. Flynn summarily asked Mr. McCollum to leave the job before it was complete. Many of her photographs are of work done by the prior contractor. Other photographs represent the job in an unfinished state and are not representative of Mr. McCollum’s finished product. In summary, her allegations are baseless."

News 12 On Your Side learned the city cited the McCollum for working without a business license and without a permit to do electrical.

Flynn had no idea the contractor wasn't completely legal.

"You just really got to do your leg work before you hire a professional," she warned.

Flynn has filed civil charges against McCollum.

Here are the top five things you need to know when you hire a contractor:

  • Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure they have proper licenses and permits.
  • Also be sure they are insured.
  • Get a written contract. You want everything in writing, including the start and end dates.
  • Keep in mind that upfront deposits should not be more than 10 percent of the total job cost.

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