Choosing A Contractor
Take Care If A Contractor:
• Solicits door-to-door
• Offers you discounts for finding other customers
• Just happens to have materials left over from a previous job
• Only accepts cash payments
• Asks you to get the required building permits
• Does not list a business number in the local telephone directory
• Has a P.O. box for an address
• Tells you your job will be a “demonstration”
• Pressures you for an immediate decision
• Asks you to pay for the entire job up-front
How long you have you been in business?
Look for a well-established company and check it out with consumer protection officials.
Are you licensed and registered with the state?
California requires that all General Contractors and their field supervisors be licensed.
Will my project require a permit?
CA requires permits for building projects, even for simple jobs like decks. A competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project. Be suspicious if the contractor asks you to get the permit(s). It could mean that the contractor is not licensed or registered, as required by your state or locality.
May I have a list of references?
You will find a list of our most recent clients along with testimonials from past projects in our pre-project package. Every contractor should be able to give you the names, addresses, and phone numbers of multiple clients. We can also visit jobs in progress. During our presentation you will be able to view some pictures of the projects we have done.
Will you be using subcontractors on my project?
If yes, you may want to meet them. This is usually accomplished at our project walk-through. All of our subcontractors have current insurance coverage and licenses, if required and are usually long time partners.
What type of insurance do you carry?
All contractors are required to carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. The general liability policy should carry limits of not less than $1,000,000/$2,000,000. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don’t carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.
What is included in a typical contract package?
Our contract package is the culmination of time spent in the design phase. Specifications are the numerous details specific to your project; the Plans are the specifications into detailed drawings. In our pre-construction package you will find a sample of the contract and Specifications. You will see some examples of plans during your presentation.
How will our project be managed?
We use the Lead Carpenter concept of project management. We assign one person to each project at a time. This Project Manager is a master craftsman as well as a project manager. This is the person who will be your primary contact throughout the project and will be with you every day until the project is successfully completed.
Will you give us a copy of the schedule for our project?
Your project needs to be finished in a timely and efficient manner. We are committed to the process of producing your project on schedule. Timeliness is the single biggest complaint about contractors. We will give you a copy of your schedule so that you may monitor our progress. A sample schedule is included in your pre-construction package for your review.
What is your warranty?
We stand behind our projects with a two year limited warranty. It is the best warranty in our area and we put it in writing into the contract.
Will the job be kept clean?
While no one can promise that the home will be kept completely dust free, we use dust curtains to seal off the area under renovation. We cover the floors that will be used for travel with protective covering designed specifically for the floor type involved. Work areas are swept at the end of every day and we provide a detailed maid service for the work area at the end of the job.
Talk with some of the builder/remodeler’s former customers. They can help you decide if a particular contractor is right for you.
You may want to ask:
• Can I visit your home to see the completed job?
• Were you satisfied with the project? Was it completed on time?
• Did the contractor keep you informed about the status of the project, and any problems along the way?
• Were there unexpected costs? If so, what were they?
• Did workers show up on time?
• Did they clean up after finishing the job?
• Would you recommend the contractor?
• Would you use the contractor again?