A recent story about contracts being required for home improvement work prompts this further advice. You will probably be dealing with a man who has a nice new pickup truck which has something like this painted on the doors of the cab; "John Doe/dba/XYZ Construction.” “Dba" means, "doing business as.” About my own experience. We managed a contract without a problem but then I asked for a certificate of liability insurance. He gave me a letter from his insurance agency stating that XYZ Construction had a certain amount of liability insurance but no individuals were named. My next move was to call the St. Lawrence County Clerk's office and ask if XYZ Construction was registered as a "dba" as required by law. The answer was , "no.” This meant that XYZ Construction did not legally exist and that the certificate of liability insurance was worthless. Lesson; always call the St. Lawrence County Clerk's office and ask if the "dba" is registered.