Keep in mind that a little investigative work on your part can help you avoid becoming the next victim of some fly-by-night huckster posing as Mr. or Ms. Clean. Here are five ways that you can avoid being ripped off by an unscrupulous cleaning contractor:
1. Require that you be given a copy of the contractor's general liability insurance certificate, and then contact the insurer listed on the certificate to verify that the policy is valid and in effect.
2. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there is a history of complaints against the contractor.
3. Require that you be given at least three verifiable customer references, and contact each one of the references and ask if they would hire the contractor again.
4. Require written estimates for all cleaning jobs.
5. Require that everyone who provides labor on your job sign your state's version of a release of lien upon final payment.
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