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: For example, home improvement contractors in New York are subject to regulation at the state level. However, it doesn’t stop there. There are also regulations at the county level, city level and some villages and towns. You must always be aware of the regulations that will affect the job you’re working on.
  • Always use a contract: Even if a homeowner is okay with proceeding without a contract, it’s never in either parties’ best interest. A contract will outline the terms and conditions of the project, while keeping you both safe in the event of a disagreement. Also, by New York state statute, there is specific information you must include in every contract. For example, if a homeowner makes an advance payment, you have a duty to hold these funds safely for use toward the project.
  • Understand the difference between employees and contractors: In the home improvement industry, there’s a lot of gray area with respect to who’s an employee and who’s a contractor. You should draw a clear line between the two, as it will impact your business and operations in a variety of ways. For example, if you have employees, you’re responsible for everything from payroll to benefits.

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.