Selecting a contractor: Contractors have various experiences and abilities. The state of California has developed a system (CA License Classifications) to classify contractors according to their trades and experience. Most classifications are specific, such as a plumbing contractor, concrete contractor or electrical contractor. Contractors with these classifications are only permitted to do work that directly falls under their classification. However, the state realizes the need to have a contractor who can perform multiple trades on a project and subcontract if necessary. Therefore, they have granted the landscape contractor C27 - specialty contractor with the ability to aesthetically, architecturally, horticulturally, or functionally improve the grounds within or surrounding a structure or a tract or plot of land. This provides home owners the ability to deal with one contractor for all your landscaping needs.
Verifying a contractor's license, experience and company information: Unfortunately, there are many unethical individuals who pretend to be contractors. They have minimal experienced and are incapable of providing you with the results you expect. These people will give false information in hopes that you will not take the time to check it out. When thoroughly questioned about their company information, you can expect some good excuses. This is a problem in the landscaping field as well as other professions. The good thing is, you have the ability to quickly verify information provided by these scrupulous people. Some things you can do is check the Better Business Bureau, references, look at portfolios, visit completed projects, verify the contractors name and license number with the Contractors State Licensing Board (1-800-321-2752). After you have pulled up the contractors license or name and you see the "license detail", you can verify the license status, classification, bonding and workers' compensation insurance.
Signing a proper contract, payment schedule and deposits: A properly written contract protects both the home owner and the contractor. Wouldn't’ life be perfect if you could just sit back and imagine what you wanted, and it appeared? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Getting your vision and expectations understood by others can be frustrating and difficult. How many times have you explained something to your wife or husband and you thought they perfectly understood what you wanted. But, you found out later that you were misunderstood or something important was left out of the conversation. This is why we believe in doing our home work and getting all the details right from the beginning. A properly written proposal is as important as a home foundation. The State of California tries to address this by requiring licensed contractors to include several pertinent sections in their contracts. This approved format with detailed specifications is intended to protect both home owners and contractors from being misunderstood and unfairly treated. Well intentioned licensed and unlicensed contractors can inadvertently cost you thousands of dollars in future expenses and create unnecessary problems.
By law deposits are set at $1,000.00 or 10% of the project (which ever is less). You might be asked to pay for special orders before they are delivered. These are items purchased by the contractor in advance, and require a financial commitment.
The payment schedule or progress payments should be written so that each payment is related to the amount of work completed.
Eastrock Landscape takes the bidding process serious. We build our proposals with detailed descriptions of our work and include all state requirements. You are clear about what to expect and we understand your expectations. This process reduces misunderstandings and promotes a smooth running project.
The unlicensed contractor concerns and problems: Unlicensed contractors can cost you a lot of money, time and frustration. They may have exceptional sales skills but lack the experience, knowledge and expertise of licensed contractors. They under bid projects initially creating optimism with trusting home owners only to produce devastating consequences. I have personally observed the results of unlicensed contractors performing unsatisfactory work costing home owner’s much more money in repair costs. The home owners end up paying twice to have their job done plus the removal / demo costs. Unlicensed contractors DO NOT carry insurance or bonds which creates a risk if injuries or damage occurs. Additionally, if your project is not completed to proper standards or codes, you have little recourse to enforce the individual to repair faulty work or follow through on their warranty. This does not include the disappointment, heart ache and safety concerns home owners may experience as well.