Construction Project Checklist
Updated: Feb 7
Finding a Contractor, Getting Bids, Reviewing the Contract Contractors hired for construction work in California that costs $500 or more in labor and materials must be licensed by CSLB.
Once you select a contractor make sure you receive a detailed written contract. Do not sign the contract until you understand all the terms.
FINDING YOUR CONTRACTOR
✓ Use the Find My Licensed Contractor feature on CSLB’s website (www.cslb.ca.gov) to find licensed contractors in your area.
✓ Confirm the contractor is licensed and that they have workers’ compensation insurance*
✓ Invite at least three contractors to give you an estimate, along with references. Call references and ask questions about the projects.
✓ Ask to see the contractor’s pocket license and confirm their identity with a current photo ID.
✓ Ask if the contractor carries general liability insurance to cover accidental damage to your property.
✓ Ask the contractor if they understand your project expectations and timeline.
Other questions for your contractor include: •
Do you have employees?
Are they on your payroll?
Do you carry workers’ compensation for employees? •
Are you hiring licensed subcontractors? •
Do you provide lien notices for your subcontractors and material suppliers? •
When can you start the project and what is the timeline? •
Who will oversee the work each day?
Will you obtain the building permits and schedule inspections? (The contractor should pull all necessary permits.) •
How experienced are you with this type of project?
Will you provide me prior client referrals? •
What days and hours do you work? •
Do you clean up at the end of the day? •
Are there potential issues with this project that could arise? •
If a workmanship issue occurs after the job is completed, will you fix it free of charge? •
HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT—GET IT IN WRITING
✓ Avoid signing a contract on an electronic device. Ask for a paper copy and take your time reading it. You have three days after signing to cancel the contract (in writing).
✓ Make sure all project materials and expectations are detailed, including clean-up, debris removal, and site porter potty.
✓ Make sure all changes to the contract, or “change orders,” are in writing and signed by both parties.
✓ Pay no more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.*
✓Schedule and document each phase of your project and the progress payment schedule.
✓Don’t pay in cash, unless the contractor gives you a receipt.
✓ Make sure you’re given the name and contractor license numbers
✓ Keep your project documents, including payments and pictures, in a job file.
Published by the CSLB https://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/Construction_Checklist.pdf