If you are planning on doing some remodeling, need new roof or addition, you need a contractor. There are some rules to follow to make sure it is done right to your satisfaction. Hopefully, you have something on paper or want to limit what you spend.

The first thing to do: Get the phonebook and get three or four contractors to come and give you an estimate on the work you need done. Make sure you ask them how long it will take to do the job. You want them to stay on the job from start to finish.

Second, when they come, make sure you get references telephone numbers so you can call and ask the customers how satisfied they were with the work done for them. Basically, you want to check to see how its holding up. Any reputable contractor will be happy to provide names and contact information for satisfied customers.

Also, make sure you have their state license number. You will want to call the Attorney General or use the website to see if there are any complaints about them. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau or Angie's list. Just make sure they have the proper general liability and workers-compensation insurance.

Three, never sign a contract or give any money until No. 2 is done. Never give cash -- check only. You want to remember that the lowest estimate is not always the best.

Fourth, when they start, take pictures as the job progresses. Keep a diary of hours worked and how many people are on the job.

Fifth, if they are not finished and it is Friday, they may ask if they can get the second check to pay the hired help. Tell them only when the job is done -- no sooner.

Now I wish I had followed those rules. Things would have gone a lot smoother.

John Bauman

West Manchester Twp.