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Two Siouxlander share their contractor horror stories

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – You pay a contractor to do some work on your house and the job never gets completed. It’s a problem that happens all too often in Siouxland and around the country.

“I don’t want to see other people go through this I want them to be aware of people out there that take advantage,” said Bert Stivers.

Bert Stivers paid Frontier Contracting upfront to replace her shed and fix her roof. Work on her house was started but never finished and because of a check mishap, she ended up paying twice for the same unfinished job.

“I would not just go with one contractor that was a mistake but that’s hindsight and I can’t change that, said Stivers.

“Check references if they are not giving you references that might be a bad sign and if it sounds too good to be true it possibly is,” said Terri Schelm, the executive officer for the Home Builders Association of Greater Siouxland.

Mike Danahoo also hired Frontier to work on his deck and outside lights.

“In the beginning he was punctual, he responded to calls, texts, emails, that kinda stuff. He showed up when he said he was gonna show up and then it all stopped,” said Donahoo.

It’s a problem, and a company Chris Coleman, of the Better Business Bureau, is very familiar with.

“They came on our radar screen a while back and for a year or more they have had an F rating through the BBB and we are always happy to help people, we would rather help them before people get into a bind,” said Colemen, the president of the BBB serving Iowa and the Siouxland Region.

Nine complaints have been filed with BBB against Frontier Contracting. According to the court record, the company has also been on the losing end of several lawsuits. Colemen said there are ways to protect yourself when dealing with a contractor.

“At my house, we did some projects and every contractor that came eventually agreed to be holding half of the funds until I was satisfied the project was done. They do their best to talk people into paying upfront or paying half up front. The way I structured it was half I was gonna wait and the other half I would give them in increments as the project got done,” said Coleman.

Coleman said taking a contractor to court is an option, but that costs money too and there are no guarantees you’ll ever get your money back.

“If it’s one issue and the consumer is dissatisfied the consumer ends up spending their own money and time to go to small claims court,” said Coleman.

“We can spend the money go to trial the judge would rule in our favor most likely and then it’s up to us to collect. Well, if he doesn’t have the money me getting a judgment doesn’t help me because I’m still responsible to try to get the money out of him,” said Donahoo.

Terri Schelm is the president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Siouxland.

“We have nearly 200 on our list of contractors with the home builders association so we have a good list to help people get good contractors,” said Schelm.

Good contractors, Schelm said, won’t ask for all the money upfront, will have positive references and will have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.

“If they ask you to go get a permit for the building part of it that’s a red flag a good contractor they will typically do that themselves,” said Schelm.

“What’s the plan for long term warranty and service are they obligated to come back and help fix up what isn’t right and for how long is that warranty and service commitment last,” said Coleman.

It’s a lesson Stivers said she learned the hard way.

“I was gullible and I said being he had done previous work for me and I was familiar with him I took him at his word,” said Stivers.

If you would like the list of approved contractors click here to view the Home Builders Associations website.

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