Official emphasize the importance of knowing basic construction laws before you hire a contractor. First, make sure they're properly licensed. "Often times you're looking to get the cheapest price," said Rick Lopes with the Contractors State License Board. "Unfortunately, a lot of unlicensed contractors are going to come in and undercut the bid to get the job, but then they're going to raise the price by finding other things to extra money out of you."
Lopes says no upfront payment is required on service and repair contracts under $750, and the down payment on a standard home improvement contract can only be 10 percent of the total price with a cap of of $1,000. Lopes added that if a contractor is coming out and asking for a bunch of money up front, "that's a sign you want be aware of because, once they have that money, they don't necessarily have a good reason to come back and do the work."
It is easy to verify a contractor's license. Just click here.