Most deck contractors are good hardworking people trying to make an honest buck. However just like any segment of society there are some crooks out there to avoid. You can never be 100% sure of the character of a stranger but a little homework on your part can reduce the chance of putting yourself at risk. Trust your intuition. What is your impression of them? Do you think they will be good people to work with? If you sense they are not being honest with you or are trying to hide something you should consider looking elsewhere. Beware of contractors that are new to the area or with out of state license plates. If someone has an established business in your community it should be easy to check out their references. Examine the contract carefully for any information that is missing or that seems odd or out of place. You want to make sure that they will honor their promises and stand behind their work. It shouldn’t be a scary experience to hire a contractor, most people are very happy with the outcome of their projects but it can never hurt to be cautious when working with people that you don’t know.