Get a permit
fizkes/Shutterstock This is a step that many homeowners skip because they think it’s a waste of time. To avoid a home improvement scam you should always require your contractor to pull a permit. “By doing all work with a permit, the city will then provide inspections to make sure the work was done to code and by law, the contractor must fix any issues identified by the inspectors,” says Zachary Rose, founder of Rose Architects. “By skipping the permit process, you are at the mercy of the contractor and there is zero accountability for their work.”
Be smart about payments
alinabuphoto/Shutterstock Do not pay more than 25 to 33 percent of the total job cost as a deposit. Hold off on your final payment until the job is finished and you are satisfied with the completed work. Also, don’t make a final payment until you receive a lien waiver stating that the contractor has paid subcontractors and for supplies. These are things every homeowner needs to know ASAP.
Always pay with a credit card
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock Paying with a credit card will ensure that you have protection against scammers. Never pay in cash. Dishonest technicians will ask for money upfront and leave you with an unfinished job. If you pay with a credit card, your credit card company can work with you to dispute the charge.