5 tips on how to find the best general contractor

Making improvements on your home? If so, you might be interested in hiring a general contractor. A reliable general contractor is responsible for the coordination of your project and are often involved from start to finish. However, not all contractors are created equal. Before you allow someone to tear out your bathroom, remodel your kitchen, or add a room, you'll want to make sure they're going to complete the project to your satisfaction. Builder Boy offers tips on how to find a general contractor who will share your vision for the finished product, work diligently towards your goal and maintain a safe and clean work space in between.

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Photo credit: Creative Commons

1. Protect yourself from lawsuits

It should go without saying, but this is the most important thing you should look for in a contractor. Any work done by an unlicensed contractor is illegal, and could put you at risk of a lawsuit if a worker is injured and the contractor doesn't have workers compensation insurance.

Another reason to make sure your general contractor is licensed is that carrying a license means they have been subjected to examination by a licensing board. An unlicensed contractor may not provide work that is up to code.

Photo credit: Creative Commons

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Photo credit: Creative Commons

2. Check with cslb.gov

The Contractors State Licensing Board is a government agency that monitors contractors and regulates the construction industry. Its sole purpose is to protect consumers from illegal and unsafe construction practices. This website has resources for checking out your contractor and making sure they're compliant with current contracting laws. You can also find forms, file complaints and find information about contracting laws on this website. As a rule of thumb, when you're looking for a general contractor, they should not:

-Advertise about bonding

-Create any type of advertising that doesn't have their license number on it

-Be misleading about costs and pricing for work

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3. Make sure they offer a contract

And make sure the contract spells out what work will be done, and how much the work will cost. It's not a bad thing if the work changes as the project progresses (if this happens, your contractor should issue what is called a change order, which reflect changes to the original estimate and the subsequent cost differences), but your contractor should offer a legally binding document for you to sign that you both can refer back to in case any issues arise.

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Photo credit: Creative Commons

4. Don't expect work to start immediately

You definitely want to find someone who works quickly and completes project milestones within their estimated time frame. However, be wary of contractors who aren't working on several other projects. It might mean they aren't receiving a lot of interest in their business.

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Photo credit: Creative Commons

5. Find out what other people have to say

Each project is different, but if your contractor's past customers have generally had positive experiences, it's a good indicator that your contractor is committed to client satisfaction. Word of mouth from friends and neighbors is always helpful, but there are several great online resources that don't allow businesses to alter or edit reviews. Yelp is a popular online directory that allows you to find local businesses and hear about your neighbor's experiences, and it's free. Angie's List is another directory that allows you to find local businesses. It isn't free, but it does offer customer service support and complaint resolution, which means they'll advocate for you if something goes wrong. Houzz is also a great resource for finding pros, and the best part is you can see photos of previous projects, collaborate on ideabooks with your contractor and get advice from other customers on their discussion forum.

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Photo credit: Google Images

Choosing the right contractor shouldn't be a snap decision. Even if you're in a hurry to get your project started, take the time to make sure your contractor understands what you want, can be held accountable by a third party and can complete the work safely and legally. You'll be glad you did.

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At Builder Boy, we are committed to offering viable building and remodeling solutions to homeowners and business owners alike, bringing beauty, form, and function back into every home, office, and building we rebuild, retouch, and restore. Our team of experts are dedicated to their craft and will work relentlessly to turn your dream or vision into a reality. Diligent planning, expert opinions, clear-cut organization, honest communication, quality materials and quality craftsmanship are keys to our business success and assure the swift and solid construction of any project. With every improvement project we accept, we aim to work with our clients to build a better home or business that will not only add beauty to the community but will boost the value of the property and quality of life.

If you are a homeowner, business owner, architect, interior designer, or design firm, please feel free to contact the professionals at Builder Boy. We can be reached by phone at 562.218.3295 or by email at info@builderboy.com. We also invite you to visit our office and showroom in the beautiful city of Long Beach. We are conveniently located at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cherry Ave.

About Builder Boy - General Contractor

Builder Boy has been servicing home and business owners in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area for over 20 years. We are regarded as the leader in the remodeling business and are recognized as the best construction company and general contractor in Southern California. We offer interior/exterior painting services, stucco, kitchen and bath remodel, custom cabinets, cabinet refinishing, cabinet refacing, interlock paving systems, stone walkways, concrete driveways, custom barbecue islands, custom fire pits, room additions, and storage solutions.