*Remember the lowest bid might not always be the best bid. The contractor might lower his/her costs by using inferior materials, unskilled workers, or failing to be properly insured.

*Ask for references, and check them. If possible, visit previous work sites to judge the quality of the work.

*Find out if the company is part of any professional organizations and verify the company has a good reputation.

*Request proof of insurance.

*Check to make sure all licenses are valid and up to date.

*Make sure you have a written contract that spells out all the details of the job: cost, date of completion, payment schedule, and cleanup requirements. Never sign a blank contract and make sure you have a copy of the signed document for your records.

*Never pay for the entire job up front.

*Talk to the contractor about permits. Some contractors will ask you to pull your own permits, if needed. If the contractor offers to pull the permits, make sure you request proof that has been done.

*Understand, subcontractors who are not paid can come after the homeowner to recoup their money. You should ask for a waiver of lien that shows your contractor has paid everyone as promised.

To check on a contractor or get more information from the Better Business Bureau, follow this link.