Getting ready to build your dream bathroom or turn your basement into the ultimate movie room? Finding the right contractor for a home project takes a little legwork, but it could save you hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars by preventing poor workmanship and delays.

A home contractor should be someone who understands and appreciates your vision, shows up when he or she promises, and completes the project on time and within the budget. You want a professional you can trust and whose workmanship will create a home to be proud of for many years to come. Here are seven red flags you shouldn’t ignore when searching for a contractor for your remodeling job.

  1. Demands Unreasonable Payment Up Front- Be wary if a contractor asks you to pay for the whole project up front.
  2. Lacks Permits, License, or Insurance- Beware the contractor who insists you don’t need work permits or that you secure a permit — it could be a sign that he or she isn’t licensed or registered with the proper state agency or county.
  3. Tries Pushy Sales Tactics- Be suspicious of anyone who pressures you to make a rapid decision, such as signing a contract on the spot.
  4. Has Outdated/No References- Once you have a list of referrals, reach out to a variety of them to get an idea of each contractor’s experience.
  5. Offers a Vague or Non-Existent Contract- Always insist on signing a contract before letting a contractor into your house.
  6. Communicates Poorly- Make sure that the communication from the professional you hire is open, timely, and well-mannered.
  7. Repeatedly Extends the Deadline- If a contractor cannot commit to a fixed deadline or requests extensions for no apparent reason, it may be time to look for other options.

Graphic created by CraftJack, a provider of remodeling contractor leads.

Finding a reputable contractor whom you can trust to provide quality work at a fair price may take some time. However, you are making a huge investment in your home, so it’s vital to be confident about your hiring decision. For more red flags you shouldn’t ignore when searching for a home contractor, see the accompanying infographic.