12 On Your Side: What you need to know before hiring contractors

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- If you are a homeowner, you may have been swamped by problems with all the rain we've had this summer -- everything from flooded basements, garages and downed trees and power lines. And that could mean hiring a contractor to fix everything.

The Better Business Bureau says homeowners are vulnerable during times of severe weather.

For major repairs, you should do your homework before hiring a contractor. Once you have chosen one, be sure to ask for proof of insurance and even ask to see a business license.

Next, always ask for a written contract that spells out exactly what work is to be done. You will also want to get a detailed breakdown of the total costs, which includes labor and materials. Don't forget to get a date when the work will be finished.

Never pay in full for work that has not been done and do not make the final payment until the work is completed. The BBB says to never pay a contractor more than one-third of the total amount of any project. Do not sign a blank contract or turn over insurance checks.

In addition, keep in mind never to accept verbal agreements. Always get everything in writing, including any changes made during the project.

For more information, contact the BBB or South Carolina Consumer Affairs.

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