Hiring a Contractor

Deciding whether to hire a contractor or be your own general contractor is an extremely important decision. Familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each option before you decide. You may opt for the do-it-yourself route to save money, but don't forget to factor in the value of your time. Hiring a contractor will often get the job done sooner, as many subcontractors give small jobs a lower priority.

  • Get several bids, and do not automatically go with the cheapest.
  • Make sure the bids include the cost of plan checking and permit issuance.
  • Call the Contractor's State License Board (800) 321-CSLB and verify the license is in good standing.
  • Check the status of the Contractor's Bond.
  • Verify that they have a current business license.
  • Verify that their workers's compensation policy is current. Ask for and check references.
  • Review the list of pros and cons of becoming an Owner/Builder (PDF)

The CSLB web site has many helpful tips for working with contractors, including a list of questions to ask before hiring.

Check on a License

Look up a contractor license or Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) registration to verify information, including complaint disclosure.