Choosing a General Contractor
Are They Licensed?
You can contact the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) online at www.cslb.ca.gov (or call 1-800-321-2752) to check the status of any contractor’s license. Make sure that anyone you hire is licensed by the CSLB and that their license carries a current and active status. Pacific Builders' CSLB number is 854395.
Do They Have General Liability Insurance?
When you contact the general contractor, ask them if they carry general liability insurance. Contractors are required by law to tell you whether or not they carry general liability insurance. They must provide a written statement with their bid and the contract. General liability insurance is not required by law but the CSLB strongly recommends that all contractors carry it. It can protect against third-party bodily injury and accidental property damage. It is not intended to cover the work the contractor performs.
If he or she is insured, your contractor is required to provide you with the name and telephone number of the insurance company. This allows you to verify their coverage if you so desire.
Are Their Employees Covered If Hurt?
If the general contractor has employees, then he or she must have workers compensation insurance. This can be verified when you access the CSLB while checking the status of a contractor’s license.
Will the Contractor Get the Building Permit?
Every contractor needs a building permit in order to start work. Ask your contractor if he or she intends to get one before the work starts.
What Does Their Contract Say?
Will the contractor provide you with a contract? If so, be sure to read and understand your contract. Will they provide the 3-day Right to Cancel Notice to you? This notice tells you your rights if you want to cancel a contract. Ask if this 3-day right to cancel a contract applies to you.
The contract should include the following:
- When the work will start and end.
- Detailed description of the work to be done.
- Detailed description of the material to be used and the equipment to be installed.
- Whether or not you are required to make a down payment.
- Schedule of payments or billing schedule.
- “Notice to Owner” warning notice describing liens and ways to prevent them.
- Description of how changes or additions to the job will be documented and billed.
- Three day Right to Cancel Notice.
Do You Feel Comfortable with the Company and the Contractor?
The construction process can be a long and complex undertaking. Trust in your contractor’s abilities and integrity is paramount. Do you feel that they communicate well with you? Do you feel that your concerns and questions are adequately addressed? If not, even the most highly recommended company is not a good match for you.