The Newnan tornado that damaged hundreds of homes Friday morning left homeowners scrambling to find help.

They didn't have to search hard. Dozens of tree trimmers and contractors from as far away as Florida offered their services.

But as Better Call Harry explains, homeowners make one mistake all too often, paying up front for a service that may not be completed or started at all.

In Georgia, while residential contractors have to be licensed, tree trimmers do not. Here are a few tips before hiring one. The same guidelines apply for contractors.

- Hire a certified arborist (georgiaarborist.org)

- Look for trimmers with an established work history

- DO NOT Pay until all debris is removed – If they say they’re coming back, wait

- Never pay a tree trimmer in advance for repairs

- Is the tree trimmer bonded and insured?

- Google the business name and check reviews – look for a pattern of complaints

It's also important to get a written contract with a start and completion date. However you end up negotiating, never pay the balance until the work is complete.

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