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Do’s and Don’ts for California Consumers When Hiring a Contractor

Don’t get “Nailed” by an Unscrupulous or Unlicensed Contractor! Before you hire a contractor or sign a contract for home repair, call the Contractors State License Board at 1-800-321-CSLB(2752). Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the companies and people you are considering hiring.

General Advice When Hiring a Contractor

  1. Don’t be a victim – be aware that homeowners are often the targets of scam artists posing as contractors.
  2. Only deal with licensed contractors.
  3. CALL THE CONTRACTORS BOARD to verify the information provided by bidding contractors.  Their number is (800) 321-CSLB (2752) and their website is  Make sure to have the Contractor’s name, addres and license number handy.
  4. Get at least three bids and ask for references of the jobs that the contractor has completed in your area.
  5. Ask for the publication titled “What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor”.  You can get this from the Contractors Board listed above.
  6. Don’t rush into repairs.  Do your homework!
  7. Don’t hire the first contractor that comes along.
  8. Ask to see the Contractor’s “Pocket License” or Home Improvement Sales Registration.  All contractors are issued pocket licenses that show the type of trade they are licensed for as well as the expiration date of their license.  Ask for additional forms of identification to make sure you are dealing with a reputable person.

Financial Information

  1. Don’t Pay Cash!
  2. Don’t let payments get ahead of the work completed and never pay for a job up front!
  3. Make sure you understand and feel comfortable with the amount you pay as a deposit for work to be performed.  Under state law, when undertaking a home improvement or repair job, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10% of the total cost of the job or $1000, whichever is less – unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent, or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract. Any such bond is in addition to the bond required of all contractors for licensure.
  4. Always as for a WRITTEN CONTRACT and DO NOT SIGN IT until you fully understand the terms.
What You Should Do Before Hiring a Contractor
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What You Should Do Before Hiring a Contractor
Do's and Don'ts for California Consumers When Choosing a Contractor. Take time to learn as much as you can about the companies you are considering hiring.