Rest easy when you follow the sound advice detailed in this concise guide to contracting hiring and keeping your remodeling project on the right track!

  1. Hire only licensed contractors!  Check the contractor's license number by calling the Contractors  State License Board (CSLB) at (800) 321-2752.   If you have Internet access, you can check out a license and visit the  CSLB at: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
  2. Hire insured contractors!   Always insist upon a certificate of insurance for general liability  insurance.  Remember top-notch  contractors have insurance to protect  you!
  3. Worker's Comp Insurance: Calif. requires this form of  insurance for any employer with one or more employees.  If your contractor is "exempt" from workers  comp, it means any workers on the job must belong to another sub-contractor who  is insured.  Uninsured workers can file  damage claims against the homeowner if they are injured.  Don't take chances!
  4. Always get 3 customer references and review past work.
  5. Get three bids and use a written plan so contractors can  compare apples to apples!
  6. Never start a job without a thorough written contract.  Any work over $500 requires a contract.  Be sure to have start and completion dates,  progress payment schedule, and if your spending a lot of money, consider another $200 to have an attorney review your contract in for your  protection!  Never sign a contract under  pressure.  Insist upon 48 hours to study  it.
  7. Payment:  To start a  job, never pay more than 10% down or $1,000 whichever is less!  And never pay for work before it is done!
  8. Keep a job file, which  includes receipts, permits, plans, and anything pertaining to your job.
  9. Insist upon a progress payment schedule that is spelled out in  dollars and cents. Never pay cash!
  10. Also, hold back 10% of payments in order to make  the "final payment" at the end of the job.
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10 Tips to Keep Your Project on the Right Track