As a home improvement contractor, you enjoy taking on a variety of projects. From a kitchen remodel one day to an addition the next, there’s always something fresh and exciting on your schedule.

However, you don’t want to become so consumed in your projects that you overlook the risks of working as a home improvement contractor. There are a variety of problems lurking, all of which you need to avoid if you want to keep your business in good health.

Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself as a home improvement contractor:

  • Understand the regulations in your area: Home improvement contractors in New York are subject to regulation at the state level – mainly requirements that must be included in a written home improvement contract.  In addition, all the downstate counties, Westchester, New York City, Nassau, and Suffolk, require that home improvement contractors be licensed with the local Department of Consumer Affairs.  Some towns and villages require licenses as well.  Failure to work with a license could lead to you forfeiting your right to payment, fines, and even criminal exposure.
  • Always use a contract: New York State General Business Law, Section 771, requires home improvement contracts be in writing, contain the contractor’s license number, offer a three-day right to cancel, and other items.
  • Understand the difference between employees and contractors.  Employers are required to provide worker’s compensation for employees.  If you direct and control a worker, that worker will likely be deemed an employee and not an independent contractor.

As a home improvement contractor, you have the opportunity to grow your business all while satisfying the needs of a diverse customer base.

As you grow your business, be sure that you have a clear idea of how to protect it. Understanding the regulatory process and general legal rights will help you avoid trouble in the future.