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AARP ElderWatch - Projects at Home


In recent months people have been home more than ever, which has prompted many home and yard projects. The ElderWatch helpline receives many complaints about projects at home. The following are some tips for hiring a contractor, handyperson or yard work:

  • Ask for and speak with their references.
  • Check independent review and referral websites, like the Better Business Bureau. Read positive & negative reviews and understand that some might be biased.
  • Understand when payment is due. If funds are asked for an advance to buy materials, they might not be financially sound. 
  • Avoid working with companies without a physical address. If they will only provide you with an email address or phone number, consider that a red flag. 
  • Inquire about the materials that will be used for the project. Ensure materials will be brought in the manufacturers packaging. Only use materials that you both agree on.
  • If your city requires certain workers (contractor) to be licensed and/or bonded, be sure that the license is current and the bond in force.
  • If your city requires a permit for a project, get one. Do not work with a contractor who encourages you to save money by not obtaining a permit. Your best guarantee of a job well done is by inspection. 
  • Obtain a written contract for any work that is done. If you are not knowledgeable about contracts, ask a friend or relative who is to review it. If you cannot find someone to review it for free, and the cost of the project is significant, hire a lawyer. Call 1-800-222-4444, option 2.

ElderWatch can be reached at  800-222-4444 (in the Denver Metro Area call 303-222-4444) or at