1. Build a list of contractors to interview by asking friends, relatives, neighbors and doing online research. Only consider companies that specialize in home remodeling.
2. Visit www.cslb.ca.gov and verify licensing, workers compensation, and bonding. Visit www.bbb.org and check the companies grade and complaint history. Use Google maps to make sure the companies have a physical location and are not out of garage or truck.
3. Grade your prospects and only contact the best 2 or 3 to schedule an in person interview.
4. Ask for past and current references. Call at least 5 references of jobs completed within 1 to 10 and visit 2 or 3 past and current projects. When interviewing references, ask if the contractor finished on time and within budget. Find out how unforseen conditions were handled and if the site/home was kept safe and clean at all times.
5. Request for proof of liablility, workers compensation insurance and a certificate naming you as additional insured.
6. Meet the project manager that will be assigned to your job.
7. Ask for a copy of the contractor’s warranty.
8. Before you sign the contract, make sure everything is included, and the finishes/fixture allowances cover the quality/grade you want. Make sure the payment schedule is reasonable and that the last payment is substantial enough to ensure the final punch list is completed timely and to your satisfaction.
9. During construction, request conditional lien releases with each progress payment and an unconditional lien release/releases upon making the final payment. Do not make the final payment until the inspector has signed off on everything.