Depend upon references when selecting. Ask friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers for references. Ask for references from the hardware or building supply store. Talk to a Realtor.
Interview a minimum of three contractors and get bids from each.
Once you know their contractor license is valid from checking with the State of California's Contractors State License Board, check their references.
The three most important references a contractor can provide are a current client and the two most recent clients for whom they have performed work. Even good contractors can find themselves in financial trouble. You don't want them to use money from your job to pay the bills from their last job.
Here are some questions to use when interviewing the contractor's references:
- Was the job started on time?
- Was the job finished on time?
- Were there any surprises during the job?
- Was the job completed for the pre-agreed upon price?
- Did you find it easy to get in contact with the contractor while work was in progress?
- If you had to do it all over again, would you hire the same contractor?
- How did you handle changes to the original contract?
- Do not be afraid of asking a prospective contractor for several vendor references, too. Make sure you actually call the vendors and ask about the contractor's credit history with them. Good contractors have good credit and are proud of it!