• Before hiring a contractor for your building project, it's crucial to verify his credentials and reputation. Photo: Montclair Construction & Structural (2014)

  • To confirm a contractor's legal legitimacy, look up his license number on the California State Licensing Board’s website (www.cslb.ca.gov). Photo: Montclair Construction & Structural (2014)

  • Additionally, you should always obtain a list of verifiable references to confirm a contractor's local reputation. Photo: Montclair Construction & Structural (2014)

Diana Connolly is Office Manager of Montclair Construction & Structural, Inc.. To reach Diana Connolly call (510) 250-2727.
How to Choose a Building Contractor

OAKLAND – When choosing a contractor for your building or remodeling project, two essential aspects to look at are credentials and reputation. By confirming these, you can ensure you’re hiring a contractor that’s legally on the level and has a proven track record of customer satisfaction.

All contractors are required to carry proper licensing and insurance, but there are some who neglect these legal obligations. If a contractor provides a bid that’s far lower than most, consider that a red flag—since legal credentials are costly to maintain, a contractor who shirks these requirements has much less overhead to cover.

Fortunately, confirming a contractor’s credentials is simple. All you have to do is look up their license number on the California State Licensing Board’s website (www.cslb.ca.gov), which keeps a record of all registered contractors in the state. It’s also not a bad idea to request copies of licensing and insurance documents for your records.

Getting references of past clients can give you a good indication of the quality of a contractor’s work. When obtaining references, make sure they’re relevant to the nature of your project. For example, if you’re having your foundation replaced, you don’t want to talk to somebody who had a roof repaired. Also, expect to see a real project and meet with a real person—don’t settle for looking at photos or talking on the phone with someone. When meeting with a contractor’s former clients, ask them about their overall experience in addition to the quality of the work performed.

Diana Connolly is office manager at Montclair Construction & Structural, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (510) 250-2727 or by email.

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