Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 27, 2023

How to make sure you’re hiring an honest contractor

The Tennessee Valley experiences its fair share of severe weather in the fall and winter months. When Mother Nature strikes your home, you might need to call a professional to help repair damage. Unfortunately, not all professionals are looking out for a homeowner’s best interest. After natural disasters, dishonest contractors try to profit from a community’s misfortune.

You might not be able to stop unexpected damage to your home, but a fly-by-night contractor is one disaster you can prevent. There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you hire a reputable professional.

A great place to start is always our HBAGC member directory (members.hbagc.net), which is filled with local remodelers and home industry professionals you can trust.

Additionally, when evaluating any potential contractor, following these guidelines can help secure your investment, whether for post-disaster repairs or a planned renovation:

Price and payment

Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be required to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase.

Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20% to 50% is typical; however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance before work begins.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card.


Confirm the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for their business.

Check Tennessee’s Board for Licensing Contractors (www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/contractors/consumer-resources.html) to ensure the business has no unresolved complaints.

Ask the contractor to provide references for past work and be sure the references can be contacted.

Check out the business on consumer review sites such as HomeAdvisor and Houzz. Remember to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews, as people are much more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one online.

Contract and completion

Be cautious of anyone who tells you a contract won’t be necessary. Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor.

Ensure the final payment is due once the job is completed to your satisfaction. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and confirm that it’s done and that you have paperwork proving it before making the final payment.

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a dependable contractor with an established business in our community, visit our website at hbagc.net.