Before you begin a construction project, the California Contractors State License Board recommends that you do the following:
- Check the contractor license number at www.cslb.ca.gov to make sure it is current and in good standing.
- Ask to see the contractor’s pocket license and a current photo ID.
- Ask for a current list of contact information (telephone number and business address) for the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
- Find out from your local building department whether your project needs a building permit and confirm that your contractor will obtain all necessary permits.
- Get at least 3 contractor bids and references, and check out, in person, recent projects by the prospective contractors that had similar specifications.
- Ask whether your contractor carries general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance for employees.
- Make sure all project materials and expectations are spelled out and signed in a written contract, including clean-up, debris removal, and site security.
- Ask your contractor if he or she understands exactly what you want.
- Have a timetable for each phase of your project and the corresponding payment schedule spelled out in the contract. Do not let payments get ahead of the work.
- Pay no more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.*
- Never pay in cash.
- Keep all of your project documents, including payments, in a job file.
- Try researching your contractor’s name online for additional reviews—but consider the source.