The BBB suggests that you solicit two or three bids for the remodeling work you are planning, but do not automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials to be used. Ask for local references and inspect the finished projects. Check to see if the contractor is a member of a professional association, which has standards for members. Make sure the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding and insurance requirements, and that any necessary building permit is obtained. NEVER sign a blank, or partially blank contract.
Typically, a down-payment of one-third of the total contract price is made with additional payments made after completion of each phase of the work. Final payment should not be made until the work is completed and you have inspected the work. If the contractor arranges financing for the remodeling work to be done, be sure you understand all aspects of the financial terms, especially, if a second mortgage of your home is used as security for the remodeling work. You may want to inquire about inserting an arbitration clause into the contract in case of any dispute between you and your contractor.