There were over 158.2 thousand construction employees in Los Angeles in August of this year. Based on this number, it’s highly likely you’ll find general contractors in Los Angeles should you search for them. Unfortunately, however, just finding a contractor isn’t enough.
You need to find the right Los Angeles general contractors. The wrong ones can cause you a wide variety of problems. They may charge too much, do poor work, and even leave your home renovation project unfinished.
Of course, you may not know how to search for the best general contractors. If so, read on. This article will offer some methods you can use while you search.
Set a Budget First
The costs of a construction project can get out of hand rather quickly. You need to reign them in with a budget. This way, you won’t end up in a bad financial situation once your project ends.
Survey your financial situation first. Check your income, savings, and how much you’ll need to spend in the next few months. Find out what money you can set aside.
Ideally, the money you can spare should be your budget for the project. You can use a bit of credit if necessary. Just don’t let yourself go too far here.
Figure Out What Work You Want
General contractors should be able to perform a variety of construction jobs. However, some will have more experience in certain areas than others. You should choose the contractor service that has the most experience related to your renovation project.
Of course, you first have to figure out the details of your home renovation project. Start by making a list of some dream features you want. For example, you may want an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a bigger kitchen, another bedroom, etc.
After you make your dream list, do some research. Find out the prices of your dream ideas. Use your budget to figure out what you can afford.
You can then eliminate some ideas until you’re left with the most important ones. Use these to find the general contractor that can help you the most.
Learn About Contractor Work
Scam and low-skilled general contractors take advantage of the general public’s ignorance. They may easily describe a project and sound impressive. However, an expert contractor could listen to them speak and know they know nothing.
You can become somewhat of an expert too. Try looking up some information about construction work in your spare time. Just some basic facts should be enough.
You can then ask questions to each contractor that you speak with. Listen for one that answers your questions clearly and with excellent detail. This is the one you should work with.
Gather Some Recommendations
Using your favorite search engine isn’t as convenient as you think. You can get information fast – but you’ll also get too much information.
The thousands of results for “general contractors in Los Angeles” will take forever to sort through. There’s a faster way. Ask other locals for recommendations.
Talk to locals you know and trust first. If your social circle is large enough, there should at least be one person who’s used a general contractor. They can recommend or not recommend a contractor they’ve used.
Don’t worry if you don’t get enough recommendations from friends, relatives, and acquaintances. You can still get help from other locals. Visit social media pages themed after your location and ask questions there.
Look at Reviews Carefully
Reviews can be a great way to further vet contractors. Make a list of general contractors from your recommendations first. Then look up some reviews for each contractor.
Keep in mind that businesses can fake reviews. Be suspicious of reviews that aren’t too detailed. Pay more attention to the ones that give specific details.
There are also plenty of other methods you can use for spotting fake reviews. Use these to ensure that you get the truth. Then check for positive features like great communication, reasonable prices, and anything you want a contractor to have.
Check the Contractor’s License
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) requires most Los Angeles construction contractors and contractor businesses to have licenses. There are some exceptions to this rule. However, they likely won’t apply to your project.
Therefore, you need to check the license of each contractor. Ask each contractor you interview for his or her license number. You can then check it on the CSLB database.
What should you do if the license doesn’t work or the contractor doesn’t have one? You should, of course, not work with them. You should also contact the CSLB to report the contractor’s crime.
Research Their Guarantees, Warranties, and Insurance
Even the best contractors make mistakes while they’re working. They shouldn’t make them often, but mistakes can still happen. They may accidentally damage a part of your home, for instance.
If this happens, the contractors should be able to compensate you for any of this damage. You can see if they’re willing to by finding a guarantee on their site. They should also have insurance that will provide them with the funds they need to do so.
Warranties work similarly. The difference is that they apply to products. If a product doesn’t work the way it should, the purchaser will get compensated.
Be sure to ask the contractors if the products they’ll use have warranties. If you’re buying your products on your own, check to make sure these have warranties.
Ask for Everything in Writing
Never simply sign off on a contract that lets the workers do anything they want. This allows the contractors to perform extra work or add unnecessary charges without your consent. This can unfairly drive up the final cost you pay for the project.
Ask if you can get a list of all the work that the general contractors plan to do and the charges. An honest contractor will have no trouble providing you with this information.
The contractor may need to shift the list a bit throughout the project. However, the contractors should speak to you before they make any changes. They’ll only change the contract with your consent.
Find Out the Payment Plan
It’s reasonable for contractors to ask for a percentage of the final payment upfront. You’ll also continue paying parts of the final price as the project continues. All of these portions should be reasonable.
Don’t trust a contractor that wants about half or more of the final price upfront. This contractor may be worried that you won’t like his or her work. Either that or they’re having financial issues that could interfere with the completion of your project.
Understand How They’ll Handle Permits
Bad contractors can do more than just run off with your money. They can also get you in trouble with the law and other officials.
Many construction projects require permits (an ADU is one of them). They may also need to meet certain safety and other requirements. Your local Homeowner’s Association may also have rules that you need to follow.
Ask your contractor about the permits and regulations surrounding your project. Good contractors should be able to explain these to you clearly. They should also go through the process of how you and they can handle the permits and regulations.
Get the Timeline of the Project
Should you ask, good contractors can take you through projects almost step by step. Learning about the building process in this way has many benefits. You can judge the expertise of the contractor by how they explain all aspects of the project.
You can also learn how to prepare for the project. For example, you’ll probably want to know how long the project will take. This will allow you to book a hotel room and/or make any other temporary living arrangements.
Refuse Certain Bids
Once you’ve gathered all the previous information, you can start to get bids. Before you do, though, use an online calculator to learn the average price of a Los Angeles general contractor. Write it down.
Get bids from all of your chosen contractors. Write them down and compare them to the average that you just calculated. They shouldn’t be much larger or smaller than the average.
If a bid is very small, the contractors are likely of poor quality. If a bid is too high, the contractors may be charging you far more than is necessary. Prioritize the hiring of contractors whose bid is closest to the average.
Expert General Contractors in Los Angeles
It should take you a fair amount of time to gather all this information. If this frustrates you, remind yourself that poorly-done construction work will likely frustrate you even more.
Also, if you need general contractors in Los Angeles, consider our services. We’ll deliver on a timeline, properly assess the job site, and so much more. Fill out the form on this site if you’re interested in starting work with us.