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Katy Contractors Talk Questions, Research Recommended to Avoid Scammers


April 23, 2024

By Natalie Cook Clark


A Katy ISD teacher and her husband were arrested last week for pocketing thousands of dollars on home renovation projects. Katy contractors share questions you should be asking when looking for a reputable and good contractor for your home projects.

Couple Arrested for Scamming Families in Home Improvement Projects

Aleck Steven Miller, 55, and Andrea Pierce Miller, 52, were arrested last week after they were accused of pocketing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for home renovation projects that were never completed.


A Katy ISD Teacher

The couple had current projects going on in Katy, Friendswood, Sugar Land and Cypress. In addition to working as a contractor with her husband, Andrea Miller worked as a Career and Technical Education teacher at Martha Raines Academy.


Katy ISD Statement:


“Upon learning of the allegations that are unrelated to the district, the individual has not been returned to the classroom or campus. The district is addressing this as a personnel matter.”


Don't Get Scammed; Ask These Questions

Harris County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the case as additional victims continue to reach out. The case does raise the question of how Katy families can find reputable and good contracts when seeking help with various home projects.


Talk to References

“Anyone looking to have work done should seek references and talk to someone who has had the same type of work done that you are seeking,” says Ida Franklin, the owner of Venus Construction. “I want to know the good and the bad.”


Katy residents should turn to social media to seek reviews. Local contractors agree that people are very quick to comment on Nextdoor, neighborhood Facebook groups, etc.


Check Insurance, License

“Always make sure that a contractor has the state minimums in insurance policies by asking for a COI (copy of insurance) in your name,” says Casey Clark, co-owner of Skidder Construction, Inc. “Make sure that the appropriate trades who need a license, have one (electrical, HVAC and Plumbing.)”


Clark also stressed the importance on asking questions about a contractor’s subs, like how long they have worked for the company.


“All our guys have been with us since we started our company – if they keep the same subs this is a good way to know if that contractor is paying his subs in a timely manner,” explains Clark. “This way, the subs do not come back and file a lien on your home from being unpaid.”


Understand Your Quote, Payment Schedule

Anyone considering hiring a contractor needs to understand how and when payment will be made and what is appropriate for the requested job. This is where doing advanced research on the contractor and the job will help.


Franklin admits that Venus Construction works a little differently with this because they always have so many projects waiting to be scheduled. If someone cancels, then they can always fill the work.


“There are contractors who will ask for 50% upfront just to get in line,” says Franklin. “Unless I have to custom order something for the project that I cannot return, I don’t ask for money upfront.”


Venus Construction currently is working on a 100K kitchen project and payment was scheduled to be made in groups, but that schedule was set before committing to the project so both parties knew what to expect.


“When getting bids always ask for a detailed breakdown of the job,” says Clark. “This way you know you are pricing apples to apples.  If one contractor is substantially cheaper than the others, please ask why?  What corners will they be cutting to make the job that much cheaper and is it sacrificing the quality of the job.”


Clark stresses the importance of people asking if a quote includes all supplies and materials or is it just labor?


“This also applies to the timeline,” explains Clark. “If you have someone saying that they could do the job a lot faster than the other contractors tell you it can be done.  I would highly question this.  In our industry there is a saying: everyone wants the job done cheap, fast, and of good quality.  You can never have all three.”


Katy families looking to do home projects shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are planning a project with creative input. Many times, projects are just that, projects and a designer may be needed for a separate cost.


Have a Contract

“Always sign a contract!  Never give any contractor money without having a signed contract in place that protects both parties,” says Clark. “This holds the contractor accountable for getting the job done, and not running off with your money.”


Franklin says that overall, people don’t ask enough questions and should even show pictures they’ve seen in catalogue or online when discussing projects with their contractors.


Katy is full of many great contractors ready to help families with exciting projects. Ask questions and do your research to make sure you are working with someone honest and skillful.

#Primrose #Town&Country


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