The popularity of home improvement television shows has increased the number
of home projects. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of knocking down walls
and retiling their kitchen on their own. If you’re one of these non-DIY-ers, you will
need to find service professionals to help, but choosing the right person for the
job is critical. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure you hire the best person
for your project.

• Check References and Reviews – One of the easiest ways to verify the
experience and professionalism of a contractor is to read online reviews. If
someone has been in the business for a few years or longer, you should
expect to find plenty of reviews to read on Yelp, Angie’s List, and other
sites. Asking for local references is also important. Call references and, if
possible, go see completed projects in person.

• Confirm Licenses and Permits – Verify the contractor is licensed by the
appropriate agency and that the license is in good standing. It’s also
important to have any required permits for the project by your local city or
county. Unpermitted work can result in loss of value, fines, and even forced
removal of the work.

• Proof of Insurance – All contractors need insurance and most are bonded.
Ask to see the proof of insurance before allowing anyone to work in your

• Get it in Writing – Get a written estimate with the scope of work and
question any confusing terms. This should include clear expectations,
deadlines, and pricing. Make sure you understand everything before signing
any type of contract.

Hiring the right person for your home improvement or maintenance job can be
time-consuming, but is well worth the effort. Do your homework upfront and you
can avoid costly mistakes.