**Ask to SEE (take photo with your cell phone)or to HAVE A COPY of :
Their drivers license (if they are not a US citizens, make sure you have seen their legal papers)
A business card
Their contractors or speciality license (electrician, plumber, etc) from the state
Their city business license
Their certificate of insurance and one issued to you by their provider
If they are Selling you something, i.e. a product, see their State Sales Tax license
Ask for a list of their references
Ask to speak to the last 4 clients they have serviced
Ask to see photos of their work
Make sure you have a contract….detailed to all the services and products being provided
Make sure you have a completion date…and a monetary penalty for each day they are late built into the contract
Take a photo of all license plates/ and vehicle of their company or person
If possible take a photo of them, perhaps while working
If you do ALL of the items listed above, chances are you will get your work done correctly, for the bid price and on time. The above items also insure you will not be robbed now or “cased” for a future robbery. It should also make you feel more safe when left alone with them. They would not risk you reporting them to any authorities on any level.
Also Note, never pay more than the State you live in allows subs and contractors, usually 20%. You want to give them just enough all through the project that keeps your products paid for, and enough labor, but never pay all until ALL the work is done along with the punch list.
Check on all the social media sites to see how subs are rated. Keep in mind not all people are fair, and if something wasn’t just right at first but then the contractor took care of it to their satisfaction, they can sometimes not give them the credit for doing so.
There are NO perfect jobs but the character of someone, in my opinion, is how they handle problems! And the level of their integrity in trying to solve them to everyone’s satisfaction. Allow them the time to make things right, and that is also the law. Before you can hire someone else or dock their pay, they have to be allowed the opportunity to do the work according to the contract.