Unless you already know a contractor who will provide good quality workmanship at a fair price, or have a strong recommendation from someone you trust and has done their homework, you'll need to make a list of several contractors from whom to get estimates.
Because the chances are that you will eventually sign a contract with one of the firms on your list, it's important to be as careful and selective when you choose contractors to give you estimates as when you make the final choice of a firm to do your work. Whether your list of contractors comes from friends, the Yellow Pages, Google, or the clerk at your local hardware store, check them out carefully before you inquire about estimates. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Above all else, never hire an unlicensed home improvement contractor. In Maryland, it is illegal to act as a home improvement contractor, subcontractor or salesperson without a valid license. Licenses are issued by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). To verify a license, call MHIC at 410.230.6309 or check online at .