Arranging Payment for Large Home Projects

1. Confirm the sales person works for the company. Verify that the individual with whom you are speaking is an authorized agent of the company that was referred by HomeAdvisor.

2. Ask for a copy of the company’s license. It is important that you verify the license is still in good standing. Also keep in mind that certain states or provinces do not require licensing if the job is under a certain dollar amount. Remember that you can find a list of your state’s licensing requirements on the HomeAdvisor website.

We recommend before working with a service professional, that you verify information presented is still current and/or acceptable to you. While HomeAdvisor may be notified of changes in member service professional insurance coverage which are then confirmed with insurance agents or companies, we cannot guarantee that insurance information is still valid at time of presentation. We recommend that you obtain a copy of the service professional’s insurance certificate where applicable.

3. Ask for proof of insurance. Ask the company to provide a copy of their insurance certificate. We recommend that you verify with the insurance agency or carrier that the policy is still in good standing.

General Liability insurance typically covers a contractor for accidents that occur while the contractor is working. However, there are exclusions to coverage, and you should confirm the actual scope of the contractors coverage directly with the contractor.

4. Finalize the contract before starting on a project.
A good contract…

  • Should be written on company letterhead
  • Should contain the company’s name, address, phone numbers, and license number (if applicable)
  • Should contain the consumer’s name, address (where work is to
    be performed), and phone numbers
  • Is dated when it is written
  • Includes a detailed description of the work that is going to be performed
  • Provides dollar amounts associated with each task included in the project
  • Includes an anticipated/estimated start and finish date
  • Provides a payment schedule
  • Includes a termination clause
  • Contains a clause that protects the homeowner from any potential mechanics liens
    once you have paid the contractor in full
  • Clearly states whether permits will be pulled, and who will be responsible for pulling them.

5. Make payments to the company that was referred.  Do not pay an individual.

6. Avoid paying with cash. Check and credit cards are preferable, and be sure to get a receipt for all payments.

7. Withhold final payment until you are satisfied with the project.

  • Don’t pay in full until the project is completely finished and you have completed your final inspection.
  • If sub-contractors were used, be sure to get signed releases from all subcontractors clearly indicating that they have been paid in full by the general contractor.
  • For larger projects, don’t make the final payment until you have passed the final building inspection.

8. Don’t advance money for materials. If absolutely necessary, make sure the materials are delivered to your house with a receipt showing that they have been paid in full.

9. Check multiple references. In addition to reading the company’s HomeAdvisor Ratings & Reviews, consider checking additional references for the service professional.

10. Document all changes to the contract. Make sure all changes to the original contact, no matter how small, are documented and signed off by both parties.


  1. Joan Hoffman, July 7:

    I had a man come over and look at the windows, shower, and other things I wanted done. His estimate/quote was very high. He wanted to sell me products that I did not really want. I feel he misrepresented himself. After he left my home from giving me the quote, I told him, I was not interested. I almost made a terrible error in having him do the work. He does not follow the advice you give above. In fact he did not seem ethical at all.

  2. Clinton Bronson, August 10:

    Must verify bidding contractors have both liability and workers compensation insurances. Does Home Advisor confirm that already? Only one bid was received.

  3. N. Bowens, October 13:

    Do not use Sears. They have high upfront prices, and they still may not be able to fix the problem. Plus you still may need to pay for parts in addition to the service.

  4. JACK MOGUS, October 26:

    Does Home Adviser verify proper licensing and insurance coverage??

  5. Patricia Hayes, December 13:

    I hired Galaxy Electrical to find a problem for me. They came out and fixed the problem and were wonderful to work with. Very pleasant and reasonable. I would highly recommend them

  6. Louriely Mina, December 22:

    I’m really happy my refrigerator is all fix the guy that you recommended is very nice & very polite & he also works fast. I’ll be coming back again in the future for more referral. Thank you so much for helping me.

  7. Nancy oliva, May 12:

    I hired Matt of Artic Fox Cooling Co. He did a great job and was done earlier than expected with no issues . I felt his price was good too !

  8. Amanda Drew, October 5:

    That’s a good idea to make sure that the license is in good standing and what licenses are required by the state. I need to hire an excavation contractor. See, I want to put in a really nice and professional-looking retaining wall into my backyard so that the whole area can be terraced instead of the fairly steep slope it is right now.

  9. Karen Bader, October 13:

    Barnes painting has been the best pro we’ve been given by home advisor. Mother’s maids were sooo expensive. Would never use them again. And bob the handyman talked more than work and charged us for his time wouldn’t use him again for a handyman. Gotta get really picky and be aware!!!!

  10. Joseph. Reustle, January 20:

    I just want to know is there
    a service charge

  11. Tess, January 27:

    I’m a single mom/grandma.Will move in on a recently purchased 700 sq ft condo on April this year. The inspector said I need some minor fix on some electricals and drains, and I want it repainted again with counter carpentry in the kitchen. Is it possible to ask for a package estimate for these things so I can at least prepare financially ? Please let me deal only to one person in case this project will push through.

  12. DANIEL WHITWORTH, January 27:

    I would like to write a review for the Contractor / Team that came to my house today- they did a awesome job! How or where do I go to do that?

  13. Doris, February 1:

    I have no other questions just want to know if there is a fee for using Home Advisor

  14. HomeAdvisor, February 6:

    Hi Doris,

    There is no fee for homeowners to use the service. There is, however, a few for Service Providers to join HomeAdvisor. Check out our homepage ( for more information.

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