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."
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!
Home Renovation Planning & Contractor Fraud Expert