Tips for Hiring a Contractor:
A contractor is a person or company that offers services like construction, home remodeling, painting, paving, roofing, or electrical work to improve your home or property. The decision to update your home can be a big and expensive one, so take your time before you make a decision about hiring a contractor. Be sure to get multiple bids and check references.
Hire only licensed contractors. Anyone performing home improvement work valued at $500 or more is required to be licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and should be bonded and insured. Hiring an unlicensed contractor is risky: the quality of the work may be poor and you may be exposed to increased costs if your property is damaged, the work is incomplete or faulty, or if a worker is injured while on your property.
To Verify License Status or for Questions:
Verify license status online or by calling 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
The CSLB also has a helpful summary of what you should know before hiring a contractor: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/WYSKPamphlet.pdf, and provides other helpful information including what to do when you have a dispute with a contractor: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/Consumers.aspx.
Some Common Home Improvement Scams (often targeting seniors):
- A contractor, or person claiming to be a contractor, comes to your door and offers to do roofing, painting, install solar panels, or perform other work at a reduced price. Once payment is made, the project is abandoned.
- A deceitful contractor offers a free inspection, then lies about faulty wiring, bad plumbing, a leaky roof or other defects that put the homeowner in danger (scare tactics). This can cause a homeowner to panic and agree to unnecessary and over-priced work.
- A contractor pushes for an immediate decision about work (high-pressure sales), which would make it impossible for the consumer to get competitive bids, check licenses, or review references.
- A contractor takes more for a down payment than is allowed by law, claiming to need it for supplies and to pay workers. By law, a down payment cannot exceed 10% of the project price or $1,000, whichever is less.
To Report Complaints:
You can file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) online at https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/ConstructionComplaint/ComplaintFormProcess.aspx or by mail using their Construction Complaint form.