Hiring a contractor is a process that should be done carefully, thoughtfully and thoroughly. As you consider your selection, know that some contractors fail to follow laws meant to protect homeowners, creating complications when injuries occur due to shoddy craftsmanship.

Most people just look for a contractor who has had a couple of good things said about them, who state they’ve “been doing this for a long time” and who can fit the job into their schedule. However, even “Good Old Jack” needs a background check.

Contractors come from all walks of life with various strengths and weaknesses. Some are skilled and competent. Others are just out for a quick buck by performing minimal work. Knowing the difference can provide not only a project completed hazard-free but also peace of mind.


Reach out to trusted loved ones, friends and neighbors for possible recommendations of someone they have used in the past. If nothing comes of those requests, research other companies who trust the contractors they have hired in the past. Even a quick stop to a building supply store to ask questions can help the selection process.


Once you have a list, start researching these companies. While visiting their website may reveal some information, county records can show a pattern of mechanic’s lien filings. These are public records, your records, and if you have to sue, a judge is going to ask you if you did your research. Don’t trust blindly; find out for yourself.

A quick visit to the Indiana Attorney General’s web page could also reveal complaints against certain contractors in the past. In addition, the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yelp and various social media sites can provide insight, both good and bad.

License or Registration

First and foremost, you want a contractor who is licensed or registered. A quick look at the Indiana state licensing board site may provide information on the contractor’s specialty, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical or countless other trades. Verify information from the local building department, where all contractors should be registered.

Face-to-face Communication

Ask to meet everybody involved in your project. It’s your property. You’ll want everyone who will be coming into your home to put a face to this project and feel accountable to you.

Directly contacting the contractor with questions can provide you with that professional’s point of view. Inquiries can cover past experience in specific projects similar to yours, combined with written warranties and insurance coverage. Find out if they have the time to take on the project and the approximate deadline. Once confirmed, a more fact-based approach involves getting references from material suppliers they use and asking for a list of successful projects they have completed in the past.

Most people who plan on improving their homes want it over sooner rather than later. However, taking the extra steps to ensure that you are hiring the right contractor can save you both time and money in the long run. Most importantly, it may help prevent serious or even catastrophic injuries resulting from poor-quality workmanship.