Tips & Tricks

What you should know before hiring a contractor

  • Make sure the contractor has liability insurance.
  • Make sure the contractor has Workman's Compensation.
  • Make sure the contractor has secured the approval of the Homeowner's Association if applicable.
  • Make sure the contractor has secured the building permits.
  • DON'T be a victim. DO be aware that consumers have been targetted by scam artists posing as contractors.
  • DO deal only with licensed contractors.
  • DON'T rush into repairs, no matter how badly they're needed.
  • DON'T hire the first contractor that comes along.
  • DO ask to see the contractor's "pocket license" or Home Improvement Sales Registration

Financial information

  • DON'T pay cash.
  • DON'T let the payments get ahead of the work completed, and don't pay the full cost of the job up-front. Under state law, when undertaking a home improvement or repair job, contractors cannot ask for a deposit more than 10% of the total cost of the job or $1,000, whichever is less - unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent, or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract. Any such bond is in addition to the bond required of all contractors for licenser.
  • DO require a written contract and DON'T sign it until you fully understand the terms.

Call the contractors board

  • DO call the Contractors State License Board to verify the information provided by the bidding contractor at 1-800-321-2752, or log onto the Internet at Have available the contractor's name, license number, and business address.
  • DO get at least three estimates and ask for local references.
  • DO request What You Should Know Before You Hire A Contractor, a publication to help you make informed decisions when dealing with contractors. Order by calling 1-800-321-CSLB or download an order form on the Internet at

Free estimate policy

  • One free consultation to take necessary photos and measurements.
  • A written estimate explaining what will be constructed, size and dimensions of structure, types of materials to be used, and procedure for constructing project.
  • A preliminary drawing of structure, including dimensions.
  • Any additional work, visits, or time spent may incur a charge of $95 per hour.
  • Phone calls to answer questions on initial consultation are free.