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
- 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 www.cslb.ca.gov. 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 www.cslb.ca.gov.
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.