How to Hire a General Contractor Without Being Bilked

Selecting the right Concrete Contractor Van Nuys CA for a construction or home remodeling job is a very important decision. There are many things to consider before signing an agreement with a general contractor or a remodeling contractor. Contractors are listed in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet, but obtaining recommendations from friends and neighbors is usually the best and most direct way to find a reliable contractor for a building or remodeling job.

The estimate should include confirmation of the specific tasks the contractor will perform, the completion date, a schedule of payments, the procedure for approval of changes, and a list of products and materials, and labor costs, along with price and quantity. It is critical to get at least three estimates, and compare the bids. Getting a fair price is paramount, but bear in mind that the contractor who provides the lowest bid is not necessarily the best one for the job.

Ask for several written references. Check out the references carefully. When calling the contractor’s references, ask these questions to help decide if the company is reliable: Was the job finished on time? Did the contractor stay within the budget? Did the contractor ask for the owner’s approval before making changes in the plan for the building or remodeling job?

Call the local municipal offices and inquire as to what licenses and permits, and insurance a contractor needs to work in your locale. Then arrange a conference with the contractor. Confirm that the contractor has the correct permits and licenses, and make sure that the contractor has the appropriate type and amount of insurance.

Obtain a contract in writing. The document should detail the work to be completed, the approximate dates for beginning and finishing the work, the total cost, and the schedule of payments. Ask for separate estimates for labor and materials. A reliable contractor will not usually ask for an advance of more than a third of the revenue for the total project. Go over the contract carefully. Once a work contract has been signed, the owner cannot dismiss the contractor without cause. (However, an owner can fire a contractor if the work is not satisfactory.). The contractor should provide the owner with a certificate of insurance before commencing work or accepting payment. Stay with the original plan for the project. Make final payments only when the work is satisfactorily finished, and pay by check.

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