Spring is officially here and many homeowners are getting ready to update, renovate, clean, maintain, or fix that something or other that has been in disrepair for the last few months, or in many cases, years. Homeowners have many options available for home improvement and remodeling, especially today with the current economy and the many lay-offs in the building industry. It can be a daunting task to figure out who to hire and who you can trust to complete the work on time, on budget, and most importantly, at a level of quality that is to your satisfaction.
There are several ways to make sure that you are hiring a design-buid contractor who is a professional. Review the items below and make sure the firm that you hire for your next project has all of these bases covered.
1. Design: Hiring a design firm that is familiar with the building industry and the current costs associated with different types of designs is a critical aspect to ensure your remodel is designed within your budget. Design-build firms with years of experience ensure that your project is using the cutting edge design practices that will save you money and ensure for a smooth delivery of the project goals.
2. License: The Contractors State License Board requires a license for anyone contracting for more than $500 for labor and materials. There are many contractors with an expired license or one that has been revoked. You can check the current status of a contractor’s license on-line at www.cslb.ca.gov.
3. Referrals: Make sure that your contractor has an updated list of several references for you to call and check for quality, integrity, and timeliness of the work performed. I would advise to ask for references of recently finished projects and/or projects that are still in production.
4. Worker’s Compensation: Homeowners are responsible for people working on their property if they were to get injured on the job. Checking for active Worker’s Compensation Insurance protects homeowners from liability issues not only with the General Contractor, but with all the trade partners hired by the general contractor. It is the General Contractor’s responsibility to make sure all of the sub-contractors have valid Worker’s Compensation Insurance. The Homeowner assumes this role if the hired contractor does not maintain an active and valid worker’s compensation insurance.
5. Liability Insurance: Accidents happen. Contractor’s Liability Insurance covers accidents on the property as well as fire protection. This will fall under a homeowner’s insurance policy if the contractor does not have a valid general liability insurance package.
6. Estimates: The first place that many consumers get scammed is by not receiving a thorough, written description of work to be performed. Detailed descriptions create expectations for both the homeowner and the contractor. Many contractors low-ball costs to get a project, and then later create additional work orders after the construction has commenced. Typically, low estimates mean that you are getting the bare minimum. Make sure the expectations are set forth and that all work is described in detail.
7. Payment: State law requires that only 10% of the total construction cost (labor and materials) or a maximum of $1,000 can be required for a down payment. Be sure that the payment schedule coordinates with the progress of the project and never pay the final payment until all work has been completed.
By following these simple tips, your remodeling experience can be one that is positive and provides value to you and your family. If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.