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What guidelines should I use to find a contractor?

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Chances are you will need plenty of help making those major repairs and additions. But the last thing you will need is someone who fails to complete the job or botches it up. Finding good, responsible help is imperative.

Here’s what you can do:

Avoid the Yellow Pages. Check with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations.

Deal only with licensed contractors. The state licensing board and local Better Business Bureau also can tell you if there are any outstanding complaints against the license holder.

Interview each contractor, request free estimates, if possible, and ask for recent references.

Ask for proof of worker’s compensation insurance and get policy and insurance company phone numbers so you can verify the information. If the contractor is not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury that takes place during the project. Also check to make sure the contractor has an umbrella general liability policy.

Never hand over a deposit at the first meeting—you could end up losing your money.

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