A recent news story about a fraudulent contractor operating in Northern Virginia prompted discussions about how we can help property owners spot and avoid scammers. Hiring a contractor to work on your home is probably not something you do every day, so how do you protect your property, your family, and your money from shady operators? Read on for some best practices…
First, it is always wise to ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations of contractors that they have worked with. Rarely will someone you know and trust steer you towards a shady character – if they refer you to a contractor that they have worked with, they are more than likely happy with their completed job, so you can worry less about being scammed or left with a half-finished project. If you are new to the area or if you don’t get a recommendation for someone who can perform the work you need – you don’t want to hire a landscaper to do your bathroom remodel, for example - take to the internet.
Washington DC: http://dcra.dc.gov/service/verify-business-license
You can also check for complaints and disciplinary actions at the links above and you can check with local consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau for complaints as well.