|He's cute and charming, but |
he's probably not licensed.
- Define your project and your budget. Have a clear sense of what you want to do, how much you have to spend, and realistic timeframes for the type of project you want done.
- Talk to friends and neighbors. Get recommendations for contractors, materials, and feedback about the process itself. A little experience-based advice can go a long way.
- Get at least three bids. Make sure the bids are from licensed contractors by checking their license information online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by phone at 800-321-2752.
- Check references. Each bidder should provide you with at least three references. Check the work in person if at all possible.
- Verify insurance. Confirm that the contractor has worker's compensation coverage for employees.
- Put everything in writing. Don't sign a contract unless all the details are in writing and you completely understand the terms for payment, timing, materials, permits, etc.
- Ask questions. If something isn't clear or doesn't seem the way you expect, ask about it. The contractor licensing process does not involve psychic training. Good communication with your contractor (like with anyone else) is the key to a successful relationship.
- Pay in stages. Never pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less. Don't pay in cash and don't let payments get ahead of the work. Don't make the final payment until you're satisfied with the job.
- Maintain records. Keep a file of all papers relating to the project, including all payments and details on the materials and sources. If there are any problems, keep close documentation with details, dates, and people involved.
- Pay attention. Stay involved with the process and check the work as it's done. As clear as your documentation may be, things sometimes look different when they move from paper ideas to real walls and work.