Get at least three written bids on your project, and make sure you’re comparing bids based on identical plans, specifications and scope of work. Do not automatically accept the lowest bid. In fact, you should beware of any bid that is substantially lower than the others. It probably indicates that the contractor made a mistake or is not including all the work quoted by his or her competitors. You may be headed for a dispute with your contractor if you accept an abnormally low bid. It is also possible that this contractor will cut corners or do substandard work in order to make a profit on the job.

When the contractor comes to your house to give you a bid, ask to see their pocket license, along with a picture I.D. You want to make sure the person you’re dealing with is the same person on the license. Contractors can also hire salespeople to work for them. Those people must be registered with the CSLB. Ask to see their registration card, along with a picture I.D.

REMEMBER! Contractors are required to have their license number on their business card and on all bids and contracts. Seeing the number there doesn’t necessarily mean the license is valid. Check the license status on this Web site.