Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: the contract

Savvy Consumer Tip: Hiring Licensed Contractors

Do you know how to spot an unlicensed contractor? Watch this video for some helpful tips.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Savvy Consumer Tip: Identifying Home Improvement Scams

Watch this video to learn about the warning signs of a home improvement scam.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Landscaping Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

The Worst Unlicensed Contractors in California

Picture a previously convicted unlicensed contractor who pled guilty to six felony charges, including elder abuse, grand theft and diversion of construction funds. Does this sound like someone you’d want to hire to work on your home? Of course not…but the man described above currently has an active arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, which means he’s still at large and could potentially prey on vulnerable, unsuspecting homeowners.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is helping consumers avoid the worst unlicensed contractors in California by posting their pictures, physical descriptions and criminal records on its website (www.cslb.ca.gov/generalinformation/newsroom/mostwanted). If you see any of these people on the street or have information on their whereabouts, the CSLB requests that you call your local police of sheriff’s department.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Home improvement, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , ,

The Worst Unlicensed Contractors in California

Picture a previously convicted unlicensed contractor who pled guilty to six felony charges, including elder abuse, grand theft and diversion of construction funds. Does this sound like someone you’d want to hire to work on your home? Of course not…but the man described above currently has an active arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, which means he’s still at large and could potentially prey on vulnerable, unsuspecting homeowners. Continue reading “The Worst Unlicensed Contractors in California” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Three Things You Want On Your Home Improvement Contract

The California State Licensing Board (CSLB) wants consumers to know that all home improvement contracts are required to contain certain language. If you aren’t aware of this prerequisite, the CSLB’s website has plenty of information that will get you acquainted with the elements of a proper contract. In addition, you can prevent stress and conflict during a construction project by tactfully requesting that your contract contain the following three elements:

A payment schedule with a task-by-task breakdown. The easier it is for you to read and understand your contract, the better. If the payment schedule is broken down by “percentage of job completed,” ask for a task-by-task breakdown instead so you can verify the work that has actually been done.

A date of commencement and date of completion. It’s important to make sure your contractor commits to both a start and finish date, but it’s also important to forgive him/her for uncontrollable delays. Any change to the scope of work should be handled with a “change order,” which identifies the type of change, how much it will impact the project cost and what it will do to the timeline. You can also ask for a credit of $100 per day if the project goes over schedule because of delays that are under the contractor’s control.

Lien releases. Following every progress payment, ask for a lien release form—it reduces the amount of lien that can be imposed by the contractor by the proportion of the work paid for and completed. You can read more about the different types of lien releases at http://1.usa.gov/dYAmig.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , ,

What to Do When the Contractor’s Bid Hasn’t Arrived

The complaint often looks like this: “How long should I wait for my contractor to provide an estimate? The estimator seemed really nice and keeps promising a bid, but it’s been weeks! I try to only hire locally but I’m tired of waiting and wasting my time. If they didn’t want my business, why not just tell me and stop stringing me along? I would never try to do business with them again and will tell my friends not to do business with them. Just thought you should know…”

Waiting for a company to provide an estimate can be nerve rattling and cause you to doubt your decision. You might even declare the company isn’t worth your time and write them off, thereby risking hiring a less qualified contractor for no other reason than their timeliness. Be careful about these types of assumptions, as they can often lead to erroneous conclusions. Here are 5 common reasons why the estimate hasn’t reached you yet:

 Remodeling? Check out our Remodeling Resource Page for more useful tips and guidance. 

5. Waiting on a subcontractor for a price
If you have a landscaping project that involves masonry, decking, lighting and plantings, the general contractor may delegate certain parts of the project to a trade specialist. In that case, the contractor may have to wait for the specialist’s portion of the bid to arrive before sending you a complete bid. Continue reading “What to Do When the Contractor’s Bid Hasn’t Arrived” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , ,

Three Questions to Ask Your Future Contractor

Good general contractors are good managers of not only their talent, but also their money and their clients’ priorities and expectations. The best don’t mind an opportunity to set upfront expectations with serious customers. Here are three questions you can ask that will give you some insight on your prospective contractor:

1. Can you give me an example of a conflict that came up on a recent job and describe how you resolved it? Murphy’s Law works on building projects just as well as anywhere else. You can tell a lot about a person by how fair-minded they are when they retell a conflict resolution story.

2. Will you work until my project is finished, or will you stop and start with some time in between? Having an understanding and expectation of a contractor’s routine is vital to your own happiness throughout the construction process. Also, make sure you know what time of day the contractor will start working. Continue reading “Three Questions to Ask Your Future Contractor” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , ,

Finding Honesty in the Contracting Business

By Carolyn Pimentel, Vice President of Pimentel Paving, Inc.

It’s hard to believe that only 30 years ago, my uncle built houses based on a hand shake—he did the work as desired and got paid when his clients were happy. Unfortunately, those days are over. We live in a time when business ethics and morality are things of the past. We think we protect ourselves by asking for references, looking at past work, getting three or more estimates and checking with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), but that’s still not enough in many cases.

What if you discovered that the references your contractor provided were actually family members posing as past clients? What if you thought you received three different estimates from three different companies for a project, only to find out later that all three companies were related and planned to share the job? What if you hired a contractor who lost his license and got a new one simply by changing his business name? Believe it or not, these things are indeed happening. Continue reading “Finding Honesty in the Contracting Business” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Savvy Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Watch Out for Painters Who Take Shortcuts

A quality paint job always starts with a thorough prep job. Recently I had 5 rooms in a small cottage painted and it took the painter more than 2 weeks of prep work before he even applied the primer! Greg Kuzmicki, owner of Solidarity Painting, Waterproofing & Restoration says too many painters cut corners by not prepping thoroughly and rushing through the job.

Mr. Kuzmicki thinks homeowners should be on the lookout for dry rot in particular. He says, “Most painters paint over dry rot because they just don’t notice it, but more often they just want to finish the job, get paid for it, and move on to the next job. This can be very costly to the homeowners in the future.” To be on top of things for your next painting project, know where your home has dry rot and inform the painting contractor. Check out areas around the windows, the trim and roof lines.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , ,

The Real Scoop on 3-Day Contract Cancellation Rights

The law was passed in 1974 to protect consumers who were pressured into signing contracts with pushy and unrelenting salespeople. The 3-day “cooling off” period allows you to cancel SOME contracts signed in California by midnight of the third business day. According to Laurel Pallock from the S.F. District Attorney’s Mediation Unit, “This has to be in writing in the contract and explained to you in advance of signing. You just tear off the form and send it back to the company, saying you want out.” Here are some types of contracts covered by the law: dental services, job listing services, home solicitation sales, employment counseling services, home improvement agreements, discount buying services, dating services, and door-to-door sales contracts. Note that there is no statutory cancellation period for automobile sales or leases. Get more of the scoop on your cancellation rights at the Department of Consumer Affairs website: www.dca.ca.gov.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , ,