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Construction Project Checklist

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

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.


✓ Use the Find My Licensed Contractor feature on CSLB’s website ( 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: •

  1. Do you have employees?

  2. Are they on your payroll?

  3. Do you carry workers’ compensation for employees? •

  4. Are you hiring licensed subcontractors? •

  5. Do you provide lien notices for your subcontractors and material suppliers? •

  6. When can you start the project and what is the timeline? •

  7. Who will oversee the work each day?

  8. Will you obtain the building permits and schedule inspections? (The contractor should pull all necessary permits.) •

  9. How experienced are you with this type of project?

  10. Will you provide me prior client referrals? •

  11. What days and hours do you work? •

  12. Do you clean up at the end of the day? •

  13. Are there potential issues with this project that could arise? •

  14. If a workmanship issue occurs after the job is completed, will you fix it free of charge? •


✓ 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

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