The Contractors State License Board has many free publications focusing on consumer protection. Below is one such document, titled 10 Tips, Make Sure Your Contractor Measures Up.
- Hire only state-licensed contractors.
- Check a contractor’s license number online at http://www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800.321.CSLB (2752).
- Get at least three bids.
- Get three references from each bidder and review past work in person.
- Make sure all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely understand the terms.
- Confirm that the contractor has worker’s compensation insurance for employees.
- Avoid paying more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.* Avoid paying in cash.
- Avoid letting payments get ahead of the work.
- Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project, including all payments.
- Avoid making the final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.
* There is an exception to this rule for about a dozen contractors who have filed a blanket performance and payment bond with the Registrar. This information is noted on the contractor’s license detail page on CSLB’s website.
The document is not an exhaustive list of precautions you should take prior to selecting a contractor, but a list of very important points. All are important points, but I believe the most important item on this list is #5.
It sounds like a logical step, but you would be surprised. Clients believe the contractor is the professional and he knows what he is doing, unfortunately that is not always the case. Not only is it important the contractor supply you with a complete and detailed list of material, including brands, models, finishes, and quantities. The details should include a complete set of drawings showing what your finished project is going to look like. What good does a statement do if it only states, “custom cabinets”, if you don’t know what the layout looks like, how many drawers, roll out shelves, corner cabinets, and many other details.
Only sign a contract after you understand exactly what you are getting for your money, including exact specifications and drawings. If a contractor is unable to provide that level of detail, you only have yourself to blame if what he provides is not what you expected. Here at Baccaro Construction, we do all of our designs in house. That means the person that completed your original interview is the one completing your drawings, including the execution and completion of your project.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.