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Consumer tips for hiring a contractor

Regardless of any "special deal" offered up by a contractor to work on your home, ask for three quotes from three different contractors before proceeding with the work.

This process will serve you well in selecting a reputable contractor.

When securing your three quotes, be sure to give all contractors exactly the same description of the work you want, including instructions regardingthe specifications required by your utility to qualify for any utility incentives. Have it written into your contract.

Compare the specifications provide by each contractor against the utility programs and among the contractors providing the quotes. If they vary, ask for an explanation.

Ask your contractors for references, make a few calls – it's always recommended. Ask for all contractors to provide proof of their contractor's license and proof of insurance. Do a licensee check and verification by accessing the California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board website. Click on “Consumers,” then “Hire a Contractor.” You will be able to search by contractor name, business name, or license number. (Note: some contractors are licensed under the business name, rather than their individual name.)

Be sure you get a written contract that covers all your project requirements including types of materials or equipment specifications, costs, clean-up and warranties. Don't be shy about modifying a contractor's standard agreement to make sure all expectations are clear and called out in the contract. If you don't understand the agreement, don't sign it! Obtain a signed lien release prior to payment. Ask all contractors, subcontractors and suppliers working on your project to sign lien releases prior to paying them for completed services.

You're in charge, it's your home and money, so make sure you are getting what you are contracting for.

Incentives for Windows & Insulation

Windows & Insulation

Get cash back when you install energy-efficient windows and bundle up your home with properly installed insulation.

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