OLYMPIA -- As spring and summer remodeling projects begin, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, or L&I, is urging homeowners to protect themselves from being taken advantage of by unregistered contractors.
Homeowners can see if a contractor is registered, bonded and insured by visiting the website www.lni.wa.gov and click on "Hiring a Contractor" under the "Trades & Licensing" tab or by calling 800-647-0982.
You also may check whether a contractor has citations or unpaid judgments.
Unregistered contractors underbid competitors by misclassifying their workers to dodge unemployment taxes and workers' compensation insurance premiums, according to an L&I news release. And they do not carry a bond or insurance, which can sting a homeowner should something go wrong with the job.
The website also has checklists of what to do before, during and after a home improvement project.
Visit the same website to report unregistered contractors or call 888-811-5974.