Hiring the right contractor can be the most important decision made in any new, home-improvement or remodel project. A contractor should be someone that can be trusted to properly plan the job and be left alone in your home. Hiring the wrong contractor can lead to poor workmanship, payment disputes, and lawsuits. Here are three tips for finding the right contractor for your job:
1. Only Hire Licensed Contractors
In California, all contractors are required to be licensed. You should check with the Contractors State License Board to see if a contractor is properly licensed, carries appropriate insurance, and has a bond in place. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in liability for injuries on your property and an inferior project outcome. You should also review websites like Yelp.com and other review sources like the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against the contractor or business.
2. Require Written Contracts and Review them Before Signing
All construction projects should be confirmed with a written contract specifying the project’s scope, cost and time frame for completion. While contractors are required to provide certain lien warnings and project specifications in writing, a project owner should not rely solely on the contractor to properly document the job. The project owner should require all changes to the construction agreement or “change orders” be done in writing, provide the cost increase or decrease, impact on the project’s time for completion, and be signed by the contractor and project owner.
3. Use Common Sense
Do not hire contractors who only accept cash or provide a P.O. Box instead of a physical address. Contractors should not be paid in full upfront. Avoid large down payments even when requested for project materials. Do not obtain your own building permits. Never forget that the construction project should be progressing as payments are being made. Follow your instincts and seek advice if you sense your project is losing its way.
By hiring licensed contractors, requiring and reading written construction agreements, and using your common sense construction disputes, mechanics liens, and unanticipated litigation can be avoided.
Amir H. Afsar, Esq. is an attorney and the founder of Afsar Law Group, A.P.C. which represents clients in business, real estate, construction, and estate planning matters throughout the Coachella Valley including Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Indio, Bermuda Dunes, Cathedral City, Banning, Joshua Tree, and other cities located within Riverside and San Bernardino County. Mr. Afsar can be reached at Afsar Law Group, A.P.C. at 760.345.3110.