"They should ask to see the license, the bonding and insurance before they just take somebody's word for it," said Al Nagel, an investigator with the Department of Labor.
Nagel sees what happens when a consumer doesn't do their homework and doesn't even know they're not protected until something goes wrong.
"The homeowner is taking that liability on themselves if an employee gets hurt on the job and the contractor doesn't have worker's compensation insurance, they are going to file back on the homeowner's insurance most likely," Nagel said.
Cody Lee is the owner of Grayling Construction and also serves with the Anchorage Homebuilders Association and the Remodelers Council.
From major kitchen remodels to the latest in garage renovations or contraptions, Lee says projects go much smoother if the client and their contractors are on the same page. That means put everything in writing from cost to specific materials.
"The timeline should be there, you should have when the products are coming in, also when the project should be finished and you should have at least a once a week meeting with the contractor to talk about how the schedule is going, how the project is going so nobody's surprised at the end," Lee said.
Once again, it all starts before the hiring process based on experience, reputation and recommendations.
"We get a lot of complaints of, ‘I found a guy on Craigslist who said he could do it cheaper and better.' Unfortunately they're not a licensed electrician, they're not a licensed plumber and after the fact, when something goes wrong they'll be looking for somebody to try and make it better for them," Nagel said.
"It's hard to retrieve any of that money should something go wrong," Lee said.
Also notable is that handymen do not have to follow the same regulations as contractors and are limited to jobs of up to $10,000. You should make sure you know who you're dealing with.
Contact Maria Downey at firstname.lastname@example.org