Finding a reliable professional to help you with home repairs can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. By insisting on a few key requirements, you’re much more likely to find good contractors and save time and money. Here are some helpful tips to consider when reviewing local contractors for work.

Avoid Unsolicited Help: If a contractor reaches out to you directly for work to your property, avoid making a snap decision. First, research the company before agreeing to any construction or demolition. Good contractors will let you take your time and make a proper decision. If you feel rushed into an agreement, it could be an indication the contractor is up to no good. Sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, and Google can provide helpful reviews from home and business owners and can aid in your decision-making process.

Seek Reputable Help: Look for businesses that have been around for more than three years. Ask the contractor for references from former customers to vet contracting skills, reliability, and customer service. Do not rely solely on internet reviews; ask for phone numbers and email addresses of businesses that have used the contractor’s services in the past.

Review Insurance Information: Whether it’s a big or small job, be sure to ask the contractor for proof of his insurance coverage in the event something happens during construction or demolition. If he does not have insurance, you should not engage the services of this business, as you could be liable as a home or business owner if an unforeseen injury or accident occurs.

Request a Formal Contract: Avoid verbal agreements with contractors; request a formal contract be signed by both parties. Carefully review each section detailing the work that needs to be performed. Do not sign if there are any blanks in the contract, as this could leave you open to problems down the road.

Avoid Paying Upfront: If a contractor asks for payment upfront before the work begins, you could be at risk if the project is not completed or is finished poorly. Offer a percentage of payment rather than a lump sum upon the completion of the project.

Be Cautious: Today, there are a number of online databases and search engines available to verify licensed professional contractors. Specific certifications are required by law for many professional restoration companies, so check their websites to determine if they are licensed and certified by government agencies to ensure they are responsible contractors.

Hiring a contractor can be difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be frustrating or costly. By taking time to do your homework before you bring someone in to help with repairs around your home, you’ll protect yourself from bigger problems.