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Seven Things You Must Know Before Hiring a SoCal Home Contractor

Middle-aged couple lying on floor looking at and discussing archHiring a contractor in SoCal does not have to be a headache. TV shows and news media might tell horror stories about scammers who cut corners and leave jobs unfinished, but you can easily have a contractor that you can trust to deliver on promises for an honest price. You just need to know a few tips for hiring contractors in Southern California.

1. Do Your Research

The Internet makes it easy to research SoCal contractors before you hire. Websites like the Contractors State License Board and  the Better Business Bureau let you look up licensed and registered contractors throughout Los Angeles and beyond. In addition, any decent contractor will have a website with a portfolio and client testimonials that showcase their work.

2. Know Your Project

Know the details of your project and budget before hiring a SoCal contractor. The more you know about what you want, how much money you can spend and how much time you can invest, the easier it is to find the right contractor for the job. Are you replacing the roof? Building an addition? Reallocating rooms? Renovating the kitchen? Removing walls? Redesigning storage? Some contractors specialize in one thing while others are pros at almost any project. Specific ideas on your part are helpful. Generalized and vague ideas can easily become renovation nightmares. Be specific from the start.

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3. Meet Contractors Face-to-Face

Set up face-to-face interviews with the licensed contractors you have researched. This is your chance to ask them questions specific to your project, about past work and other clients. It is also the only way to get to know the team you may be interacting with for some time.

4. Meet Past Clients

Reputable contractors are happy to give prospective clients information about past clients (who grant permission) and where to see their work. Before hiring, you must see what projects a company has done, how well they have done them, and hear the customers’ perspectives about the experience and service. Get reviews straight from the source.

5. Get Estimates or Bids

Do nothing without getting a detailed estimate from all prospective contractors. Let them know you are comparing several competitors in the process. This lets you compare and contrast the prices offered – so you know what you can get for your budget – and also what details each contractor offers. A good rule of thumb is to not automatically hire based on the lowest bid. Instead, compare bids with portfolios, testimonials and the quality of service.

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6. Get a Commitment to Serve You

Many contractors run several jobs simultaneously. However, some do not, preferring to focus on one project at a time. Be sure the contractor you choose commits to YOU. You need to know the contractor will not leave you waiting with half-finished work, but will do everything possible to honor commitments.

7. Draw Up and Review the Contract

After you have done your research, reviewed estimates and made plans, you can finally hire your contractor. It is time to draw up a contract that details the job, completion dates, materials, labor, and all costs. Make sure the contract includes information about building permits, cancellation rights and the contractor’s insurance claims. Before signing, carefully read the contract and any other paperwork. Do not hesitate to ask questions about payment schedules, insurance, warranties and licenses. Remember that the contractor works for the homeowner, not the other way around, and must clarify anything that is confusing.

After the contract is signed, you should have wisely hired a contractor in SoCal, and they can begin the renovations you have been waiting for.

Romney Tripp of RWT Design & Construction“Romney Tripp started construction in 1977 and formed RWT Design & Construction in 1992, eventually setting up the shop in Burbank. From the mid 1980’s Romney has been working on building recording studios as well as…” Read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RWT Design & Construction.

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