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“Start with your friends and family and then check in with the Contractor State License Board for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who'll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.”
In California, anyone who contracts to perform work on a project that is valued at $500 or more for combined labor and materials costs must hold a current, valid license from CSLB. You can verify the license or call (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
!ALERT! Be advised that unlicensed individuals pose a risk to you and your family's financial security if a worker is injured while on your property, your property is damaged, or if the work is incomplete and/or faulty. Few, if any, unlicensed individuals have a bond or workers' compensation insurance. The quality of their work usually doesn't compare to that of a licensed contractor. Don't take the chance in order to save a few dollars. You'll probably end up paying more in the long run.
Read the CSLB publication What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor or call CSLB toll-free at (800) 321-CSLB (2752) to have one mailed to you.
Take your time before you make a decision about hiring a contractor.
Hire only licensed contractors. Anyone performing home improvement work valued at $500 or more must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board.
Get your contract in writing and don't sign anything until you understand the terms.
Required in your contract: a specific description of work to be done, materials to be used, total cost of the project, and start and completion dates.
Ask a friend, relative, or legal representative to review the contract before you sign it.
The above provided by CSLB web site