By Kia Ricchi Special to The Pineapple Finding contractors for repairs, remodels, and new construction has never been easier. From referrals to advertisements, candidates are abundant. But contractor horror stories also abound—how can you avoid a construction nightmare? Vetting your prospective contractor just got a whole lot easier. iCheckContractors.com verifies Florida contractors’ professional licensing, workers’ comp insurance, and corporate status with government agencies, and then issues a full report. “It’s the CarFax for contractors,” says Kia Ricchi, licensed contractor and founder of iCheckContractors.com. “Although many contractors are upstanding and honest individuals, contractors sometimes lie about their qualifications. This deceit can range from verbal exaggerations to cleverly forged documents,” says Ricchi. “To ensure that a contractor meets your state’s standards for contracting, credentials must be checked.” iCheckContractors.com also takes the guesswork out of credentialing. Because there are many types of licenses, it is important to know the specific purpose of each. Only the professional license authorizes an individual to perform a trade. The iCheckContractors. com’s report details the contractor’s professional license number and type, status, and compliant history. The workers’ compensation section addresses status, carrier, and authorized exemptions. Corporate standing is also documented. This service is affordably priced at just $89 per report. “Regrettably, many people discover that an unqualified contractor costs them twice as much because the work must be redone. And these costs are minor compared to an expensive personal injury claim from an uninsured worker,” says Ricchi. “Beware of the contractor who asks you to pull a permit because it may indicate that the contractor is unqualified to do so.” To learn more about contractor credentials and common pitfalls, visit the Knowledge Center at www.iCheckContractors.com. Kia Ricchi is a Florida licensed contractor, consultant, and author of Avoiding the Con inConstruction—winnerofthreenational book awards and included in the Library Journal’s “Best of” list. She is a contributor to NPRaffiliatestations,RemodelingMagazine, and FineHomebuilding.com, and is quoted in TheStreet.com, Inman.com, Lowes.com, and MoneyPit.com. Ricchi is a speaker at this year’s 2013 Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference.