Click here to get a free quote

5 secrets your contractor does not want you to know

general contractor in Los Angeles, CA

What if the contractor asks for a big deposit?

Well, you should know that a big deposit is unnecessary and possibly illegal. When you are about to sign the contract, you have to pay a deposit. But this deposit does not include the material price or set up cost. There are a few things you should know about the guarantee, such as:

  • If your contractor's business is financially sound, he will not ask you to pay for anything upfront.
  • Many states have limited contractor's advance. For example, in California, you only need to pay 10% of your overall construction cost as a deposit or 1000 dollars, depending upon the smallest.
  • Before paying a deposit, you should know about the laws of your state.
  • A small deposit is sufficient to start the project.
  • You should schedule the payments according to the work that is being done. So, if the work is being delayed, you do not have to pay money for that work.
  • It is suggested to use your credit card for home improvement payments. In this way, if your job goes south, you will be able to withhold the payment.

Is it the only game in the town?

If you believe you have found the right person for your work, even then, you do not have to agree to his every request because he is not the only game in town.

  • You should at least consider three-four contractors before rewarding one of them with your home renovation work.
  • Do not hire someone based on just reviews.
  • Make sure you compare prices, methods, and materials of at least three contractors. In this way, you will be sure that you have found the right match for your project.
contractors tools in Arcadia, CA

What if he is not the design whiz?

Maybe the contractor you are hiring is not a design whiz he claims to be. Depending upon the complexity of your work, you might have more than one expert at your disposal. You cannot solely rely on a contractor to do designing and take care of minor details, unless your contractor is a trained designer and have some portfolios of previous work. If you want your house designed, then specifically ask a contractor about their reference work in creating a home. Sometimes, it is better if you let a professional architecture designer do the designing and planning of your house.

What if he is marking up for materials too?

No contractor will tell you that, but he is marking up on labor and materials. It is fair because that is how he will pay for his salary.

In order to save 10% to 20% of the total cost of your project, you should consider the following:

  • You should know that you will have to pay more than 50% markup on labor and materials.
  • If you have time, then it is advised that you should buy items such as a plumbing kit, countertop, cabinets, and flooring yourself.
  • If you are planning on doing this stuff yourself, then make sure you ask your contractor to take out these prices from your bid.
  • You should create a list of items and the amount of product you will be buying. And make sure you have these items ready at the site of work when it is required.
  • Do not use recycled stuff for your home unless you harm your home value.
  • Use salvage materials. They are one way of saving money on building costs.

How is he going to farm out your work?

The contractors do not tell you how involved they are going to be in your work. They will not be the ones to do physical work. Instead, their job is to sign a client, manage the budget, and hire sub-contractors for different jobs. They will employ plumbers, carpenters, and electricians to do all the work. They do not have these tools on their belt now. So, they are a little vague about who will run the job and handle the construction on a day-to-day basis. It would be best if you ask your contractor about the following things:

  • Ask who will be in charge of the job site.
  • Ask them to meet a job supervisor. It is advised to see your job foreman when he is at the construction site of another project.

Be friendly with your contractor and the rest of the crew. It will help you in getting top-notch work.

Things that you should know before hiring a contractor

There are somethings that your contractor is not telling you and are essential for you to know, especially if you want your project to go smoothly.

Sometimes, contractors bids lower to get a job, but it is not realistic. They cannot get a crew for the job at such a low price. Please make sure you get at least three bids for the same position and do not select the lowest of them. It will only create a delay in your work. It happens because the contractors are not business people but craftsmen people. So, they do not know how to price the job.

The contractor that has been bidding low may cut corners by cheap materials and builder-grade material. Do not be greedy. If an experienced company asks 100,000 dollars for a project and another is offering to do the same task for 60,000 dollars, it probably means the latter will take twice as much time as the one before.

You cannot get a contractor that will deliver a good quality of work at a low cost on time. Everyone wants a magic guy that will provide the right job at the right price at the right time, but it is not possible. Two out of ten contractors will be able to give the correct position on time. But others will dupe people on less money. Moreover, it is advised to look at the bid based on the cost and check the firm's track record and reference.

The contractor you are selecting should be in business for at least three years with zero complaints by any government agency. Before accepting a proposal, research the prices of material you want. Generally, these materials are half the total cost, and the other half is labor cost.

Make sure your contract spells out as much as possible. For example, if you are looking to remodel your kitchen, the contract should include the type of cabinets you are getting, countertop material, and appliances in your kitchen. If the bids are detailed, you can see what one firm has included, and the other does not.

A contractor will charge you more if you are a doctor or lawyer. It is noted that contractor prices are based on the profession of the homeowner. If you are a doctor or an attorney, your bid will be 30% to 40% higher than usual. Builder may ask for more money if you are a doctor because doctors are more analytical and may ask you to do more work. You should be nice to get the job done. If you do not like how your chosen wallpaper looks on the wall, make sure you pay extra for remediation. If you are superior to the contractor, he will do all sorts of things that are not included in the contract. The contractors do not know how to negotiate. So, if they do not get paid according to the set price, they will walk away. You should not pay the contractor with too much upfront money. Some contractors are not good businessmen. Make sure you double-check your hired contractor's license and see if it is applicable for your job or not. Sometimes, the license contractor shows are not of the right kind. It is illegal for you to hire someone without a license to do a job of greater than 1000 dollars. It can create problems for you.

By Michael James


Filed under: Home Remodeling Blog


Name is required
1 -
Phone and Area-code are required
Phone must have 3 digits for Area and 7 for Phone
Success! we'll be in touch.