If you have ever hired a contractor, you are probably familiar with the terms ‘licensed’ and ‘insured’. Many businesses advertise these credentials, but the best thing you can do is validate them. Here is how:

  • Make sure your contractor has a professional license from the State of Georgia (if you don’t live in Georgia, check with your secretary of state to see who regulates professional licensing in your state.) You can check the status of any Georgia state license here : http://verify.sos.ga.gov/verification/ Note: a business license is different from a professional license. A business license is issued by the county or city where the business is based and gives the company permission to do business in their geographic area.

  • Make sure your contractor has adequate liability insurance. Ask your contractor for proof of insurance. It should only take 1 or 2 business days for them to produce a certificate. When they do, check that the dates are current.
  • Check internet reviews. There are thousands of sites that host reviews, and even a brand new business should have a basic internet listing. If you can’t find anything, that could be a red flag. Ask your contractor to provide local references who have had the same type of project completed recently.
  • Have a contract in place before you make a deposit. You and your contractor should agree on a scope of work, price and timeline in writing before any work starts, or payments are made.

Keep in mind that if the deal seems too good to be true- it probably is!