Adam Flaum, Custom Builder

Q: How can you be assured that your contractor is legitimate and trustworthy?

A: The following websites allow you to check the credentials of your contractor:

Legitimate Business Filings

All those conducting business in New York State are required to file as a business. To check if your contractor or builder is registered go to:
Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC
Some contractors operate under an assumed name certificate (DBA) filed directly with the Columbia County Clerk. Contact:
Office of the County Clerk, Columbia County, New York

Commercial Liability Insurance

Contractors should carry commercial liability insurance to protect against work related damages such as fire or accidents. To protect yourself, be sure to ask your contractor for a Certificate of Liability Insurance. Be sure your specific job is covered in your contractor’s policy.

Construction Industry Fair Play Act

The New York State Construction Industry Fair Play Act took effect on October 26, 2010. The law creates a new standard for determining whether a worker is an employee or subcontractor in the construction industry. Use these guidelines to help identify if a contractor has employees or subcontractors.
Department of Labor / Construction Industry Fair Play Act

Workmen’s Compensation Insurance

If a contractor has employees, the contractor is required to carry Workmen’s Compensation insurance on those employees. Be sure to ask your contractor for a Certificate of Workmen’s compensation insurance before starting a job, or look up a contractor’s coverage at:
New York State - Worker's Compensation Board
Note: if an uninsured worker gets hurts on your job, you may share in the liability.

When does a contractor need to charge sales tax:

If a contractor performs a job that constitutes a repair, maintenance or installation service to property (example: painting your house), sales tax must be collected from the customer. If a contractor does a capital improvement for a customer and the customer provides the contractor with a properly completed Form ST-124, Certificate of Capital Improvement, no sales tax is required. For more information go to:

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance - Sales and Use Tax Classifications of Capital Improvements and Repairs to Real Property  PDF

New York State Tax Form ST-124 - Certificate of Capital Improvement  PDF