The best way to avoid problems is to follow the steps outlined earlier and cover all the details you can think of in your contract. However, even with the best of intentions, problems sometimes arise. As with any dispute, the first step is to try to resolve matters with the contractor directly. Be sure all problems or complaints are addressed in writing directly to the contractor and that you keep a copy so you both have a record.
Some warning signs of possible trouble may include:
You cannot verify the name, address and telephone number or credentials of a contractor.
The contractor does not comply with your requests for references, or the references have some reservations about the work the contractor did.
You are unable to verify that the contractor is licensed or insured and the law requires licensing and/or insurance.
Beware of anyone who tells you that the Federal Housing Administration or any other government agency approves or endorses a contractor's work.
You are asked to pay for the entire job in advance or to pay cash to a salesperson instead of using a check, credit card or money order to the company itself.
You are asked to sign a completion certificate for the job before it is properly completed.