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Questions to ask when hiring a contractor:

There's so much to think about in hiring any contractor, especially for a major project. Be sure to follow these tips to find a contractor who fits best with your own thinking:

• Does your contractor have a headquarters? Homeowners should want their contractors to operate from a permanent place of business. If the contractor is not permanently established, how can you be confident that they will complete the work or be in business tomorrow should there be any problems?

• Is this company insured, and is the coverage adequate? When you find a contractor you think you want to hire, make sure that employer has workers' compensation and general liability insurance in case of accidents on the job. Ask for copies of these policies and keep them on file.

• Is the company in good standing with a trade association?

• How long has the company been in business? You might want to be leery of a contractor promising to be an overnight success. A long-time, well-established contractor is likely to be a safer bet.  Considering the length of time a contractor has been in business is a good indicator of their ability; however, there are many contractors who claim years of experience. Protect yourself by asking for proof of business length.

• What is the contractor’s record on complaint resolution? Make sure to get references, and review past work.

• Does the company provide sufficient details for the project being performed?

• Make sure everything is in writing. The contract is one of the best ways to prevent problems before you begin. The contract protects you and the contractor by including everything you have both agreed upon. Get all promises in writing, and spell out exactly what the contractor will and will not do. When receiving the contract, make sure all concerns are addressed to avoid a miscommunication. Do not accept vague proposals or prices written down on the back of a business card.

• Do your homework. Whether you are in need of a new roof, repairs, maintenance, gutters or skylights, it is important to do your research.

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