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2 min read

9 Things to Know Before Hiring A General Construction Contractor


Many times, people begin their construction process by requesting quotes from a bunch of different contractors. Truth be told, the process should as you’re looking for the contractors. There is a criteria that one should follow to protect themselves and their home.

Below, are 9 things to keep in mind when you’re researching a General Contractor:

  1. License: Make sure the contractor is licensed! In California you can check the contractor’s license by going to www.cslb.ca.gov
  2. Insurance: The contractor should have an additional liability insurance policy. This is just in case any workers get hurt at your home while on the job.
  3. Beware of Mechanics Lien Laws: If you don’t pay the contractor, he/she
    can file a lien against your home. And if the contractor can’t pay the sub-contractors, then the sub-contractors can also file a lien against your property.
  4. References: Ask for references! It’s a good sign when the contractor invites you to see their completed projects.
  5. Getting an Estimate: Have your contractor describe in detail the scope of work on the project. From visiting the job site, the contractor should have a solid idea of what it’s going to take to achieve what you’re looking for.
  6. Ethics: Don’t under value the importance of a contractors’ ethics. A professional will put his clients’ interests as a top priority. Hiring an honest contractor is always less expensive than hiring a dishonest one. Be wary of an initially low price. An unethical contractor will hit you with subliminal costs that were not reflected in their original estimate.
  7. Communication: During your initial meeting with the contractor, an important personality trait to consider is how he/she communicates with you. Ask yourself...
    • Is this someone I can work with?
    • Do I understand what the plan is?
    • Does he understand what my needs and wants are?
      • Many times it pays to hire a contractor that comes in at a higher price if he/she does a better job at communicating with you. Better communication = a better end result.
  8. Evaluating the bid: Avoid lump sum bids! These bids tend to not reflect the true cost of the project. An itemized bid with the labor and material breakdown is always best. The itemized bid should clearly spell out the scope of work that the home owner has requested and the costs required by the contractor to deliver.
  9. Payment Schedule: Request that the contractor set up a payment schedule that fairly coincides with phases in completion schedule. You want to release funds as the progression of work occurs. A fair payment protocol should be negotiated with the contractor ahead of time.

Special consideration should be given such as purchasing; cabinets and other large ticket items. For big purchases you can negotiate to release more so your contractor can buy them. If you want to learn more about hiring a general contractor you can also check out the articles below:

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