L&I experts weigh in on avoiding contractor scams

The following is a press release from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries:

When it comes to remodeling, hiring a qualified contractor can mean the difference between a home improvement and a renovation nightmare.

Starting this week, experts from the Department of Labor & Industries will be available at the Washington State Fair, and later at home shows throughout the state, to offer tips on achieving the remodeling project of your dreams.

One key to success is hiring a contractor registered with the state. Registered contractors must have liability insurance, a business license and a bond, which gives homeowners some monetary recourse if a job is left undone.

L&I also recommends consumers:

  • Interview and get written bids from at least three contractors. If one bid is significantly lower, question whether all construction rules will be followed and what corners may be cut.
  • Pay only as each stage of work is completed. Consider paying suppliers directly.
  • Before making final payment, have the general contractor provide a “lien waiver”— a document signed by all major subcontractors and suppliers acknowledging they’ve been paid in full. Otherwise, unpaid subcontractors and suppliers could file liens against the homeowner’s property, even if the general contractor has been paid in full.
  • Visit ProtectMyHome.net. It’s a one-stop shop to check contractor registration, learn about disclosure statements, and get L&I’s “Hire Smart” worksheet, a lien waiver form and much more.

For a list of events L&I will be available at, please visit their website.