Whether you are adding tile to your bathroom floors or refinishing your dining room wood flooring, you may have considered hiring a flooring contractor to do the job for you. Just like any home remodeling project, sometimes there are misunderstandings and disputes within a work partnership, resulting in you firing your professional. Updating your floors can be timely and costly, so having a professional there to help will benefit both you and your home, but it can also be challenging. Be aware of these six warning signs that may indicate it’s time to let your flooring contractor go.

1. Inexcusable behavior

The partnership you have with your flooring contractor is key to your flooring project’s success. Your professional should be someone who is competent and reliable. If you find that your contractor is routinely showing up late, leaving early, or not showing up at all, the level of reliability between the two of you will continuously decrease. Other behavior either physical, verbal, or non-verbal that causes you or your family to feel uncomfortable or in danger, is inexcusable. Safety and protection come first in a home improvement project, so unwarranted behavior should not be tolerated. If this is a reoccurring issue, it may be in your best interest to fire your flooring contractor.

2. Asking for too much upfront

If a contractor asks for more than 15-50% of the total sum of the project cost at the start of the job, this is a red flag. While some states allow a contractor to ask for a larger percentage of the total cost upfront, asking for more than 50 % could be an indication that they have foiled a previous job and have had their credit withdrawn. Reputable flooring contractors have credit to work with that will allow them to cover most of the up-front costs of a project.

3. Low-ball bidding

Just as asking for too much money upfront is a red flag, so is not asking for enough. Most of the time, a bid that’s significantly lower than competing estimates for the same job will mean that the work is low quality and not worth it. To ensure you are getting quality and trustworthy work, your project’s bid should not exceed by 25% or more from other estimates. The resulting subpar work may need to be redone, adding the cost of cleaning up the previous contractor’s mess to your total expenses. If a flooring contractor is giving a low bid, accept it at your own risk or terminate your relationship at this time.

4. No signed contract

When working with a contractor, having a signed contract in place is important for the safety and protection of you as a homeowner. If your flooring contractor won’t sign a contract or makes excuses, you may want to walk away from the partnership. Don’t allow a flooring professional to start or continue working on your project if they aren’t willing to sign a written document. You have the right to hold them to the terms of the agreement once a signature is obtained. If the contract states you want hardwood, but the contractor lays linoleum, you’re entitled to have hardwood replaced with no extra fees. Having a signed contract keeps you in control of the project.

5. Incompetence

Having a contractor means that you don’t have to oversee every detail of the project. But when a problem arises, you should be consulted and informed. This doesn’t mean you have to solve daily issues, but depending on your contract you may want some form of involvement in your flooring project’s decision making. A competent flooring contractor should be able to do what is outlined in the contract and solve the small problems like broken tools and sick crew members. If you find that your contractor is failing to solve any issues that arise or is unable to answer any questions you have regarding your flooring budget, schedule, or overall project, consider ending business with your professional.

6. Abuse of terms

If your contractor is involved with any theft, drug or alcohol abuse on the work site during the process of your flooring project, these are all grounds for instant termination. Your contractor should comply with OSHA guidelines. Be cautious of a professional who is willing to compromise the safety of your home by disregarding and abusing the terms in your contract.

What to check before you hire

There are a few standard conditions to check before you even hire your flooring contractor. When looking for a professional or flooring specialist, make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. Many states require that contractors have proof of a license to do any work on a home. A contractor who is bonded means that as a homeowner, if necessary, you can be reimbursed for inadequate workmanship. Insurance also protects you and your home in the case that an accident would occur during your project. It’s important to not only make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured, but also the type of each, as certain terms and conditions can apply.