Most homeowners do not have the expertise or interest in tackling a large
home project, so they find a contractor to handle it for them. Hiring a
contractor is very different from finding a handyman or gardener. A
contractor must adhere to strict guidelines set out by the state or
jurisdiction they operate in.

Here are the basic requirements that a contractor should address when you
meet with them:

· Licensing Requirements – You should always use a licensed
contractor. Not only have they met and maintained specific standards, but
this protects you in the event something goes wrong. In many states, you
have no legal recourse if the worker is not licensed. Every state has a
licensing board where you can check the validity of the license.

· Deposit Limits – It’s common for contractors to ask for a deposit
prior to starting work. The amount of deposit is limited by the state in which
you live. For example, in California a contract cannot ask for more than
10% of the job or $1000, whichever is less.

· Disclosures – Your contractor should provide you with a list of
written disclosures prior to starting the project. These discuss the scope of
work, materials to be used, timelines, total cost, and change procedures.

· Right to Cancel – Your disclosures should also clearly state your
right to cancel within the regulations laid out by the local authority.

Specific laws and regulations vary by state, but they can be found on the
state licensing board’s website. Before hiring or starting any project,
familiarize yourself with these rules to ensure you’re hiring the right
company and protected.