Before you hire a contractor read this statement.
NEW Tip: I have noticed that people think that an immigrant, that says he is a "carpenter or a contractor", has lower prices than a licensed contractor so they don't get any bids from licensed contractors. Many times consumers are being overcharged by these guy's. Just the other day I bid on a fence for an old customer who was sure she was being overcharged by her neighbors immigrant "contractor". He was going to do the work for $2,500.00. I did the work for under $1,000.00. They know the consumer thinks they are going to be charging them less so they are charging them more and the consumers are not checking by getting other bids. A license contractor with a long standing account at the lumber yard can get a better price on lumber than a person who does not have an account or a relationship with the lumber yard. These guys are doing odd jobs they are not specialist. They don't have the correct tools or experience to do the job correctly. You should be asking yourself; are they using nails when they should be using bolts? From what I have seen the answer is yes. Do they no that today's pressure treated fir lumber will dissolve regular steel nails and steel bolts? The answer is no! The work may look fine on the outside when it is completed, but will it last? With a licensed contractor you have a recourse. With a pretend contractor you don't. A gardener is not a carpenter he is a gardener, be careful.
Reference check: Call the contractor's previous customers and find out if the person you are thinking of hiring kept to a schedule and contract. Did they stay within budget? Did they listen and seem concerned about resolving problems and make any necessary corrections. Get two written bids using identical plans and specifications so you can compare prices. Include a licensed contractor in the bidding. You may be surprised at how low his price is. And remember if the offer sounds too good to be rue, it probably is.
Insurance: Make sure the contractor is properly insured against claims for worker injury or damage. Ask to see a copy of the certificate of insurance or the name of the contractor's carrier and agency.
Get it in writing: Know exactly what the work will be and how much it is expected to Cost, then establish a payment and work schedule. Don't pay for it all up front: It is illegal for contractors to demand total payment on a job before the work is done. Pay for the work in stages according to an agreed upon schedule and make sure that everything is being done to your satisfaction before releasing any money. All contractors in all the trades, except pool contractors, can only ask for a down payment of 10 percent of the cost of the job or $ 1,000, whichever figure is less. If they are asking for more than what's allowed. Than they either don't no want they are doing or they may not be a company you want to hire. For obvious reasons.
Complaint procedure: If you have problems of any kind with a contractor you may contact the State Contractors License Board to learn more about their complaint procedure. And, if you suspect criminal activity, you should also report it to your local police department or the Marin County District Attorney's Consumer Protection Division at 499-6450.
Hint, You can tell how long a contractor has been licensed by how low his or her number is. The lower the number the longer the contractor has been in business. I have been license scents 1/21/1987. Today's numbers start in the 800000 and rising. That's 300,000 new contractors in less than 12 years. Not all of them no what their doing.
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