Downed trees or storm damage? Hire a registered contractor.

Don’t let downed trees get you down. Rushing to hire someone to cut down damaged trees and make home repairs after a storm can result in shoddy work or even getting scammed.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) says property owners can be especially vulnerable to fraudulent or unqualified contractors in the wake of major storms or other disasters. That’s why people with storm damage should be sure to hire well-qualified, registered contractors to repair homes and take down damaged trees.

Home and business owners should beware of contractors who knock on their door to solicit work. Contractors who ask to be paid in cash or want a check made out to someone other than the business are also red flags. Unregistered contractors or scam artists often use these tactics.

State law requires contractors who take down and remove trees on residential and commercial property to register with L&I. Likewise, construction contractors who repair damaged homes and businesses also must register with L&I.

Hiring a registered contractor provides some recourse if things go wrong with the project. If a job is poorly done or unfinished, consumers can seek money from the contractor’s bond.

L&I confirms contractors meet bonding, liability insurance, licensing and other requirements before registering them.

Following these “Hire Smart” tips can help people avoid scams and save money.

  • Verify a contractor’s registration at or call L&I at 1-800-647-0982.
  • Get three written bids.
  • Don’t pay in full until the job is done.


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