Before You Hire a Contractor

Important things to understand before hiring a Contractor

Get Estimates

Once you’ve narrowed your options, get written estimates from several firms. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder. Before you hire a contractor, ask for an explanation to see if there’s a reason for the difference in price. Orange County Contractor Great Earth Environments will always be available to give estimates and answer questions all throughout the project, we have 35 years of experience to offer homeowners. Sometimes the most affordable isn’t always the best. We use quality products and take the time to make sure it is done well. While we always encourage estimates please also get client testimonies as well, being equipped with both will help your family make the best decision.

Here is a link to some of ours. Client Testimonials

Ask Questions

How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year?

Ask for a list before you hire a contractor so you can see how familiar the contractor is with your type of project.

Will my project require a permit?

Most states and localities require permits for building projects, even for simple jobs like decks. A competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project. You may want to choose a contractor familiar with the permitting process in your county, city, or town.

May I have a list of references?

A contractor should be able to give you names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least three clients with projects like yours. Ask each client how long ago the project was and whether it was completed on time. Was the client satisfied? Were there any unexpected costs? Did workers show up on time and clean up after finishing the job? You also could tell the contractor that you’d like to visit jobs in progress.

What types of insurance do you carry?

Contractors should have:

  • personal liability
  • worker’s compensation
  • property damage coverage

Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current, or you could be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.

Understand Your Payment Options

Try to make payments during the project contingent upon completion of defined amounts of work

This way, if the work isn’t going according to schedule, the payments to your contractor also are delayed.

Get a Written Contract

When you hire a contractor, requirements vary by state. Even if your state doesn’t require a written agreement, ask for one. It should be clear and concise and include the who, what, where, when, and cost of your project. Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes:

  • the contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number (if required)
  • an estimated start and completion date
  • the payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers
  • the contractor’s obligation to get all necessary permits
  • how change orders are handled. A change order is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract, and could affect the project’s cost and schedule.

Please visit Orange County, CA Contractor Great Earth Environments F.A.Q. page to find out our answers to these questions and more.

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