The first step in checking up on a contractor before you hire is to ask around — talk to people you know who are likely to know the contractor or his/her reputation.

Check with the State Department of Commerce or the State licensing Bureau. Verify that the contractor is certified and licensed. Find out if the license has ever been revoked.

Check with the local court system to see if there have been cases involving the contractor. Find out how the cases were resolved.

Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there were any complaints against the contractor and how they were resolved.

Ask the local Chamber of Commerce about the contractor’s local reputation.

Do an internet search to see what is said about the contractor.