How do I check out my potential Contractor?
- Contact the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to check their status. Visit their website or call 800.321.CSLB (2752).
- Get at least three local references from the contractor and call them.
- Find out whether or not the contractor will get building permits before starting any work.
How do I check out the Contract?
- Have you read the contract, and do you understand it?
- Find out if the 3-day right to cancel applies to you. Contact the CSLB if you don’t know.
- Make sure the contract tells you when the work will start and end.
- Check for a detailed description of the work to be done, materials being used, and equipment being installed. Should include brand names, model numbers, quantities and colors. Details now prevent disputes later.
- If required, a down payment should never be more than 10% of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.
- If there is a schedule of payments, you should only pay as work is completed and not before. There are some exceptions-contact the CSLB for details.
- Even if you pay your contractor, a lien can be placed on your home by unpaid laborers, subcontractors, or material suppliers. Did your contractor give you a “Notice to Owner”, describing liens and ways to prevent them?
- All changes or additions to your contract must be in writing. Putting the changes in writing reduces the possibility of disputes.
Does my contractor carry Commercial General Liability Insurance?
Home improvement contractors are required by law to tell you whether or not they carry this insurance. They must provide you with the name and telephone number of the insurance company (check to make sure the coverage will cover your project). The written statement must accompany the bid, if there is one, and the contract.
What does the insurance cover?
Commercial General Liability Insurance can protect against third-party bodily injury and accidental property damage. It is not intended to cover the work the contractor performs.
Is this insurance required?
No, but the Contractors State License Board strongly recommends that all contractors carry it. The Board cautions you to evaluate the risk to your family and property when you hire a contractor who is not insured.
What if my contractor is self-insured?
A self-insured contractor has made a business decision to be personally responsible for losses that would ordinarily be covered by insurance. Ask yourself, if something went wrong, would the contractor be able to cover losses ordinarily covered by insurance?