Phony home-improvement solicitations are a leading scam during the pandemic according to the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island.

These scams usually start with a knock on the door or a flyer offering cheap prices. Usually, there is no contract and they often demand cash in advance.

The scammers know people are at home self-isolating, so beware!

When hiring for a home improvement or renovation, follow the same careful diligence you would expect from a contractor working in your home.

First, contact an industry association like VRBA for any questions or advice at vrba.ca. There is no charge or obligation.

Always get several quotes from professional contractors, easily accomplished using VRBA’s free online Expression of Interest at vrba.ca/hire-a-vrba-member. Follow up with reference checks.

Always demand a professional contract, which will outline a payment schedule based on progress. VRBA provides fair, balanced contracts for use by our members.

For example, you will want to ensure your contractor has insurance coverage, which should be in the contract. Otherwise, you may be liable for any accidents. For more information, visit worksafebc.com.

It’s important to resist the temptation to get a “cheap deal.” That alleged “deal” can fade quickly and turn into major challenges and costs. The goal is value for money, not a cheap renovation or repairs.

To sum up, your contractor should have a strong track record, professional contract and liability coverage.

Help stop the scammers and launch a diligent hiring process for your home improvement, starting with VRBA.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

Visit us at vrba.ca and careawards.ca. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.