Beware Of Springtime Predators

Spring weather has a way of attracting pests-like unscrupulous home-improvement contractors who can't wait to "help" you tune up your air conditioner, patch your roof or repave your driveway.

If you need to hire a contractor for any of those jobs, choose one who has a state license to do the work, who is bonded and insured, and who has done good work at the home of a friend or neighbor who is happy to recommend him. Do not hire someone who knocks on your door without an appointment.

Every now and then, you might meet a qualified, licensed and honest handyman who's going door-to-door looking for work. But too often, those uninvited solicitors are from out of the area, will offer a great deal, and then will take off before the work is finished or do such shoddy work that you'll need to hire someone else later to do it over.

If you need an electrician or air conditioning/heating tech, ask your electric company, your neighbors or your co-workers for some names. Check that the person has a valid and current state license. Choose someone whose company name is painted on his truck and who has official letterhead and business cards that give the company's name, address, phone number and state license number.

And know that your electric company will never send someone to your house without an appointment and proper credentials. Never invite someone into your home who does not have an appointment and credible identification.