- Krista + Rosie, Realtors - http://kristashouse.com -

Hiring A Contractor? Read This.

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Have you ever been put into that awkward situation where your clients have hired someone who is an expert in their field, and the information they are providing is just plain wrong?  I was recently showing property to some buyers who brought their contractor along to look at the kitchen.  We were looking at the stove, and the contractor made some comments regarding the self-drafting feature and lack of hood.  This contractor was completely wrong about the down-draft element, it wasn’t a down draft, but a vent for the oven.  Now, I am no stove expert.  I am not a ventilation expert.  But I have seen enough homes and been through enough inspections that I have a general wealth of knowledge about said subject.  Do I say something?  Can I ask a question about this without saying he is wrong?  How do I keep my clients trust when this was someone that they trusted?

Picking a contractor you trust is not an easy task.  As a daughter of a contractor, I also know the flip side…how hard they work, how competitive things can be.  The Contractors State License Board provides this 10-point checklist for hiring a contractor.

Last February the CSLB conducted a sting in the Berkeley Hills.  The CSLB had received various bids for painting, landscaping, and flooring projects.  I don’t remember how many unlicensed contractors were sited, but a bulk of them did not have workman’s comp insurance.

According to the CSLB if someone is doing a job for less than $500 in labor and materials they are not required to be licensed. A solo licensed contractor doing his own work without any employees is not required to carry a workers’ compensation policy.

So if you’re hiring a contractor for a job costing more than $500 or he has employees, make sure he has the proper license and adequate insurance or realize you may be in trouble.  And make sure you check their references.  Turns out my clients contractor specialized in structural work, not kitchens.