How our nightmare started

Protecting Women Homeowners From Remodeling Disasters and Unethical Contractors

Hello there and welcome!

I’m Jody Costello, founder of this website – ContractorsFromHell.com – and creator of the “Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women”. I launched this site as a result of a horrible remodeling disaster I experienced back in 2000, where I was in the fight of my life to seek justice. Realizing the lack of consumer education and protection, I wanted to create a site that addressed these issues and provided guidelines and warning signs for homeowners to consider when planning their renovations.

As a survivor and now thriver of a remodeling nightmare, I can tell you that I was one of the lucky ones who won through the legal system. I actually received the justice I was looking for, but there was a big price to pay in terms of stress, reconstruction, legal costs, living in a half finished house for nearly three years that leaked, a contractor who constantly denied any responsibility, and construction defects that went on and on. Oh, and attorneys, attorneys, attorneys. Ugh! Enough to destroy anyone’s hope of seeing the finish line much less finding the strength to do so.


But persistence and an unwillingness to accept the status quo was, and has been, a driving force that shapes me. And when you’re dealing with government agencies and the legal system, you better be head-strong if you want to achieve any level of success. I mean, I was not going to let anything get in my way and I was determined to be heard. And yeah, I got a little crazy, but the good news is I WON.

You see, the whole reason for renovating the home was to bring my mother home to live with us the remaining years of her life, which wasn’t going to be a long one. She passed several weeks before our trial was to begin, and it was the hardest, most guilt-ridden period I went through. Because of the choices we made, the opportunity to have her come home were dashed. But, I have to believe God had a plan and it is the journey I’ve been on with launching my website, helping others working with the Contractors Board as a Consumer Advocate, and all that has come of it. Crazy and not what I would have chosen. Yep, I’m a woman of faith, but it’s often hard to understand the ”why” when adversities or unfair circumstances are surrounding and pummeling you with no let up in sight. It was brutal!

But I’m a fighter and seeker of justice – at least that’s what I learned about myself through this horrible experience.

And then some.

I learned more than I actually wanted to, but with all that I have learned, I now put to use and share on my website and my online course, The Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women.

 Why women, you ask?

Well, because I have found that it’s the women who tend to rise to the occasion when they find themselves having serious problems with their contractor. They are PISSED – I so get it – and they have no problem confronting the contractor who dares to defy them. And they’re also more willing to reach out and ask for help; they’re the “mama bears” who come out fighting to protect their families and homes, and have that “don’t you even think you’re going to get away with this” attitude. Yes, men have contacted me too, and have rallied as well, but being a woman, I understand the fury that follows when a woman has been scorned by a contractor.

And I strongly believe that because construction is typically not a “women friendly topic”, it’s all the more reason to understand the basics if you’re going to renovate and hire contractors. Because what you don’t know gets you into trouble!

I didn’t know anything about construction and left that part to my husband. He knows the trades well, but not the legal aspects – the contractor laws and legalities – that get consumers into trouble. Women are more than capable to learn and apply it, as are men (and yes, men have taken the course).

Learning the basics of renovating right, is not rocket science, and it’s also not the fun, sexy part like designing and creating flattering living spaces. But, oh how important it is to educate yourself, for without it you will likely find yourself starring in your own remodeling nightmare.

Through it all, I have become a fierce advocate for stronger consumer education and protection. I’ve attended Contractors Board meetings where I voiced my opinions as well as those of other consumers whose voices were not being heard. (To be honest, I pretty much stalked those meetings the first few years and was fairly aggressive in my stance, but it was totally needed; the CSLB was a mess internally at the time). Since then, I have had the opportunity as a consumer advocate, to work with the Enforcement Chief on various issues around consumer protection and education. I also testified before the State Senate in support of legislation protecting consumers.

I still occasionally attend meetings today, but my focus has shifted more to advocating for consumer education and protection over general consumer complaints. Education and better protection can reduce those complaints but never eliminate them. Unfortunately, not all consumers will make the effort to educate themselves, but I do want to give it my best shot at reaching those who will become unsuspecting victims of remodeling disasters.

Homeowners need to be informed and educated about renovating, hiring and working with contractors and understanding the construction process. It’s the best line of defense we have to ensure a successful renovation.

Moving Forward

My goal is to raise awareness about the realities and risks in renovating, hiring and working with contractors. People just don’t know what they don’t know and that’s what gets them into trouble. It got me into trouble 18 years ago but remodeling disasters can be avoided. I’ve learned the hard way and I want to help others avoid problems and share with them simple solutions to having greater control over their money, their project and their contractor.

And not the other way around, where homeowners loose control over their project and money, ending up at the mercy of an unethical contractor.

Over the years I’ve received probably thousands of emails from homeowners desperate for help when finding themselves in trouble with their project and contractor. And each and every time, I cringe, knowing what they are facing and that it’s now about damage control: throwing good money after bad, fighting with the contractor, living in a home in shambles and facing legal battles. Very stressful, very expensive, not to mention relationships that fall apart.

So if you’re someone who is looking to remodel or build your home, do yourself a huge favor and get informed and educated about what you need to know to avoid the common pitfalls of renovating and working with contractors.

Join me in my Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women and PLEASE share it with your spouse as well. Men have participated and benefited too and it’s something that will bolster your confidence in hiring contractors and managing your remodel with greater peace of mind.

Remember, renovating has many challenges and not everything will go smoothly, but in the end you want to have complete control and success in completing your project on time and within your budget.

I look forward to helping you achieve a successful outcome!

Jody Costello
Home Renovation Planning & Contractor Fraud Expert









Meet Jody

contractor, About Jody

Avoid A Home Remodeling Disaster & Getting Ripped Off By A Shady Contractor!
Join The “Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women”


Avoid A Home Remodeling Disaster & Getting Ripped Off By A Shady Contractor!
Join The “Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women”


Avoid A Home Remodeling Disaster & Getting Ripped Off By A Shady Contractor!
Join The “Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women”


Learn How To Maintain Control Of:

Your Project, Your Money, Your Contractor!

contractor, About Jody

Podcast Interview: Beyond Influence Series

by Jody Costello & Cloris Kylie

yahoo Finance
February 14, 2022

A must read!!

Yahoo Finance News:  Quoted and featured in:  Homeowners Confront Every Imaginable Disaster Trying To Renovate Their Homes

The Bark Podcast:
Interview with Jody Costello of ContractorsFromHell.com:

Podcast Interview: Beyond Influence Series

by Jody Costello & Cloris Kylie

HerStory Circle TV Podcast with
Jody Costello:

January 27, 2021

Quoted in the New York Post:
Top Home Renovation Projects To Consider and What They Will Cost

December 15, 2020
Delighted to be quoted in this great article on renovating laundry rooms:

Plan Out Your Laundry Room Renovation

April 16, 2020
Honored to be quoted in:
Done A Home Remodel? What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Before?

January 7, 2020
23 Money Saving Tips and Exterior Home Improvements For Seniors
Honored to be quoted in an important article

October 8 2019
SFGATE.com - Realtor.com
4 Ways To Finance Your Home Improvement Project Without Draining
Your Bank Account
Quoted in Real Estate

September 26, 2019
Realtor.com News
Quoted in Home Improvement:
Crucial Things You Need To Clarify Before Hiring Painters

July 21, 2019
Contractor Fraud Expert Warns of 7 Home Improvement Scams To Avoid
Honored to be featured in this article.

May 31, 2019
Quoted in: How To Find A Contractor - 4 Essential Steps For Homeowners

May 28, 2019
Quoted in: 7 Signs You Should Put Off - Or Call Off A Home Renovation

February 2019
Honored to be quoted in the Checklist For Hiring Contractors

July 24, 2018
Top 25 Expert Tips To Keep Neighbors Happy During Construction

May15, 2018
How To Find a Contractor

June 2017
Realtor.com: Could a Home Improvement Scam Cost You $1,400? How to Stay Safe

May 31, 2017
How To Find a Contractor: 4 Essential Steps For Homeowners

Interview with PDH Academy:
Expert Interview Series with Jody Costello About Educating Homeowners and Contractors To Help Avoid Disputes, Mistakes And Lawsuits

DIY Home Improvement For First Time Homebuyers – July 2016
Featured Expert in the remodeling section of the Exceedingly Comprehensive Guide To DIY Home Improvement For First Time Homeowners. Check it out!

BBC.com – May 16, 2016
Interview with the BBC.com on what to do when things go horribly wrong.

September 9, 2014:
US NEWS and WORLD REPORT : How To Deal With A Bad Contractor

April 24, 2010:
US NEWS and WORLD REPORT : How To Deal With A Bad Contractor

April 29, 2010:
The New York Times “The Hand-Me-Down Home”

July 20th 2010:
BlogTalk Radio Interview with Denice Newton on “After Thoughts”

August 13, 2010:
BlogTalk Radio Interview with Hollis Chapman

MostMost.net  April 24, 2010
10 Most Important Tips Before Doing A Home Renovation

Money Magazine December 2008
Renovations On Sale “some less than scrupulous remodelers may cut corners to come up with that low bid or else leave off charges that they may tack on later…sites like ContracorsFromHell.com…can also provide valuable insights.”

Los Angeles Times  Sunday, July 13, 2008
Hiring A Contractor Is A Hands On Job

The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet
Fox News Affiliate New York June 2, 2008

Sign On San Diego.com San Diego Union-Tribune May 24, 2005
Building a Defense for Consumers: Spot lighting ContractorsFromHell.com

Los Angeles Times April 19, 2005
by Jordan Rau, Times Staff Writer Bill would End Gag Clauses That Stifle Victims Who Sue

Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2005
Contractors Board Falls Into Disrepair by Jordan Rau, Times Staff Writer Homeowners are upset that regulators can’t better protect them from bad builders.

Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2004
Unfinished Business: A Contractor’s Lien Over Disputed Fees Can Stop a Homesale or Refinancing by Jeff Bertolucci

American Bar Association Journal and Report – April 25, 2005
Second Efforts Seek to End Contract Gag Clause Rule by Moly McDonnough Group wants end of clauses preventing complaints to regulatory agencies.

People Magazine – May 30, 2005
Contractors From Hell by Ken Lee Four homeowners share their cautionary tales of home remodeling nightmares with yours truly as the lead story.

This Old House – September 2002 (repeated in the summer of 2003)
Get It In Writing by Jeffrey Rothfeder Shoddy work, vague contract verbiage and our remodeling nightmare highlighted in this issue of TOH.

Newsweek – May 6, 2002
This Remodeled House by Linda Stern Our home remodeling nightmare starts off this article in Newsweek.

contractor, About Jody
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