How to avoid shoddy contractors

(KOMO file photo)

As spring approaches, a lot of people plan home remodeling projects. Remodeling and contractor problems are always near the top of the yearly list of top 10 consumer complaints. So as we begin National Consumer Protection Week, let’s talk about hiring a contractor.

A bad contractor can make your life miserable. A shady one could steal your money. That's why it's so important to check out a contractor before you hire them.

Contact the Better Business Bureau, talk to previous customers and check with the state to make sure the company is properly registered.

Steer clear of anyone who just shows up at your door offering a great price claiming it’s because they're in the neighborhood and have leftover materials.

"Good contractors plan out their jobs, they don't have leftover materials and they don't go door to door trying to pick up new customers in the neighborhood, said Kevin Brasler, executive editor of They have plenty of business and don't need to grab them that way."

Brasler has one more very important tip that can prevent a lot of problems once you find the right contractor.

"Before you do any kind of home contracting work or get repairs done, get a written contract, get everything spelled out,” he said. “It's all fine and good to have a nice handshake deal with someone you think you trust, but it doesn't every hurt to have it in writing."

Checkbook has a number of helpful articles for anyone about to hire a contractor. You'll also find information on the Federal Trade Commission website.

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