What to Know Before Hiring a Contractor

Vince NardoBy: Vince Nardo, President Reborn Cabinets Inc.

In most families, your home will be your most valuable asset. The place where you spend your time to relax with family and friends. A place of solitaire and refuge from the busy world we are in every day.

Having any type of work done in your home can increase the stress around your home. Choosing the right contractor to perform work in your home can help to reduce this potential stress. Most contractors are legitimate and do quality work, we all too often hear of the contractor that took advantage of an unprepared homeowner.

Here are some helpful tips to avoid hiring the wrong contractor.

Research the Contractor License Number

In the state of California, an approved contractor must hold a valid license by the California State Contractors License Board ( Every contractor must display this number everyplace their name is advertised. The CSLB issues licensed based on three classifications;

A License – General Engineering Contractor

B License – General Building Contractor

C License – Specialty Contractor

Verify the contractor you choose has a license to perform the work he is quoting. For Example; do not choose a C11 license (elevator contractor) to install cabinets in your home which requires a C5 license.

Verify How Long They Have Had Their License

Just like you would not trust your surgery to a newly licensed doctor, you should not trust your home to a newly licensed contractor. Be aware of ads saying “over 20 years’ experience” unless you can validate the contractor has had their license for that long. You can verify your contractor’s license issued date on the CSLB website.

Ask to See Past Projects

Information on the internet cannot always be confirmed. Many sites offer anonymous postings, good or bad, and you cannot always trust what you read. Ask your contractor for a map showing recently completed projects and what recent customers have said. A reputable contractor should survey each and every customer so they can have an unbiased review of their company.

Agree on a Reasonable Contractor Down Payment

In the state of California, the Contractors State License Board restricts any contractor from receiving more than 10% or $1000 at the time the contract is written as a down payment. The next payment should not be made until the work will proceed or special items are being ordered.

Ensure They Have General Liability Insurance for Contractors

Commercial General Liability insurance is not a requirement of the CSLB. However, this added insurance is for your protection. Having General Liability insurance ensures that should damage occur to your home or property during the remodel, the contractors insurance will be responsible for repairs and your homeowners insurance will not be affected.

Verify They Have Workers Compensation Insurance for Contractors

In the state of California, contractors with employees are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance. This insurance is to protect you from a worker being injured while in your home. Hiring a contractor that does not have this insurance makes you responsible should a worker be injured while in your home. You can check if your contractor has Workers Compensation Insurance at

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