I’m sure we have all heard stories of people being ripped off by unethical criminals posing as Contractors, handymen, roofers, etc. So let’s be careful and not have that happen to us. Here are some suggestions from my many years of hiring people.

1) The best idea is to get a personal referral from someone you know and trust. Like your Realtor, a family member, friend or co-worker for instance.

2) Always get three bids and compare the information. The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best.

3) Ask lots of questions so that you are sure the person you are going to hire understands what work you need done.

4) NEVER hire someone that comes to your door saying they were referred by a neighbor. This is most likely a scam artist.

5) Make sure that the person you hire has a license. You can check that easily by going to MYFLORIDALICENSE.COM or SUNBIZ.ORG.

6) Check to make sure the person you are going to hire has insurance, so they are covered in case they get injured on your property.

7) NEVER pay a Contractor or anyone else in full, or with a large payment, up front. Instead, give them a small down payment, with a schedule of how payments will be made as the work progresses. Don’t pay in full until the job is complete.

8) Get a Contract in writing with specific information about what the job entails. The more specific you are about what you want done, even if you want a certain brand, color, etc. have that writing into the Contract too.

9) Make sure that all of the contact information, including the company name, an address and a phone number, are on the quote with the Contractor’s information.

10) Have a clause in the Contract about having any changes in writing.

11) Make sure that the Contractor is going to get a permit, if one is required, to do the work at your home.

12) If there is a warranty, make sure that is also written into the contract.

13) When the work is done, have the Contractor write “PAID IN FULL” across the contract once you have completed the payment. That way there will not be a question in the future about payment.

If you take these precautions, you will be protecting your home, your belongings and yourself from being ripped off by a scam artist. And there are a lot of them out there. But there are also a lot of good, hard working people and those are the ones we want to work with.