HOW TO FIND THE CONTRACTOR THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Whether it’s for your home or your business, finding the right contractor can be a taxing endeavor. So, when searching for the right contractor, here are some things that the Better Business Bureau recommends you consider when looking to hire a contractor.
Find the type of contractor that you need. There are plenty of General Contractors out there, but there are many contractors these days that work under more specialized fields, such as roofing, plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, electrical, etc. Before looking for a contractor, make sure you’re looking for the one that’s best suited to the job.
Are the contractors licensed? Licensed Contractors in our state must be certified by the California State Licensing Board. All contractors licensed have a unique license ID #, find the license number for the contractor in question, and verify them at ca.gov to make sure their licensing is up to date.
Do they have Workers’ Comp Insurance? Ask the contractors for their insurance information. Call their carrier to confirm that they are covered for any liabilities or accidents that might happen while the work is done. It’s important that you check this prior to hiring, or the project might end up costing you more than you bargained for.
Get multiple bids. You’ll want to get at least three bids from different businesses before you decide which contractor to hire. It’s important to remember that the cheaper options don’t always mean they’re the best choice, as the contractor might be cutting corners.
Ask for references. Ask the contractor to provide a list of people they’ve recently done work for. Ask these people if they were pleased with the work done, and if the contractor had stayed within their budget. Request pictures of previous projects.
Get everything in writing. Get any estimates in writing, and have a contract drawn up and signed before any work is started. Read over the contract in detail and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on anything prior to signing it. Ensure that any and all verbal promises made are also written down and included in the contract. On a final note, never sign any contract that’s blank or half-filled out. Don’t sign the contract until it’s complete.
Are all your permits in order? Before any building/demo is started, make sure your contractor has all the correct permits. It’s usually up to the contractor to obtain the permits, but you will have to pay for them. Before you make your final payment, ask the local official building inspector to look over the work done, and ensure that it has been done right.
Schedule Payments. It’s ill-advised to pay in full, up front. CSLB advises people to pay either 10% of the total cost as a down payment, or $1000, whichever is less. Have your payments spaced in increments over the course of the project, the final payment being set for after all the work is finished and you’ve had a chance to assess the work that’s been completed. Try to make your payments by check or credit card, rather than in cash.
Save the records. Lastly, make sure you get a signed receipt, and that it is marked “Paid in Full.” After all is said and done, be sure to keep records of everything on file. It’s good to keep them just for future reference, or for any questions/problems that might arise in the future.
Depending on which contractor you’re dealing with, there might be other factors you should keep in mind that aren’t listed above. For a more specialized selection of tips and advice when dealing with contractors, go to bbb.org.