Construction Contractors in Los Angeles

So, you’re planning to do some remodeling or construction at your home or property. There’s obviously a lot to research and consider, and one of the major challenges is finding a good construction contractor in Los Angeles or Southern California. A major project at your home will invariably be one of the biggest expenses of your life, so you want to make sure you find the right contractor to ensure a terrific result.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange & Ventura Counties with reliable construction contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about selecting the right pros to hire. Continue reading for advice on how to find and select local construction contractors.

What Makes the Best Construction Contractors in Los Angeles?

construction contractors walk thru

Experience

A remarkable track record is the cornerstone of excellence in construction. We’ll discuss how years of experience contribute to a contractor’s ability to handle complex projects with ease and deliver outstanding results.

Expertise

Construction contractors will usually hold a general contractor license (B-license) from the state of California and are therefore permitted to perform diverse construction trades such as framing, electrical, plumbing, roofing, etc. However, construction contractors will often specialize in certain kinds of projects. You’ll want to seek a contractor whose expertise matches your project type.

For example, if you’re seeking to do a kitchen remodel, it’s not ideal to hire your friend’s contractor that primarily builds pools and outdoor patio spaces.

Client Satisfaction

Client satisfaction is the ultimate litmus test for any contractor’s success. If previous clients were happy with a construction contractor’s work, its highly likely you will be as well. Not every job is the same so past performance is not a guarantee of future results, but it’s a very good signal.

Preparing for Construction Contractors

The first thing you must do is assess and define your specific construction requirements. Are you looking for a general construction contractor to perform a major home remodel or do you need a specific trade contractor for a single project like painting or flooring?

Second, you need to determine your approx. scope, budget, and timeline. Do you need the project started soon or are you planning ahead? What kind of budget do you have to complete this job? Have you created a renovation checklist of the items you want completed – the scope of work. Don’t forget to do a bit of online research on current project pricing so you have a general idea of what to expect.

Once you’re prepared with an understanding of your own needs and desires, you can start the process of finding a good construction contractor in Los Angeles.

Finding a Good Construction Contractor in Los Angeles

construction contractors framing

There are plenty of good construction contractors in Los Angeles and frankly, there are plenty of bad ones too. Its up to you to find a good contractor who is within your budget, available, and is experienced with your type of project. If this seems like a challenging prospect, that’s because it is.

You’ll be spending tens of thousands of dollars or even more, and you don’t want to take a big risk by hiring any old random contractor that sent you a postcard in mail. Instead, you’ll want to do your homework and research, just like you would before buying your next computer or car.

Researching Local Construction Contractors

There are many ways to find local construction contractors in Los Angeles. There are online listings, sifting through your junk mail, asking friends/family for recommendations, looking on Yelp, or seeking recommendations on social media like Facebook or Instagram.

Some of these options are better than others, such as asking friends and colleagues as you will certainly get honest and non-biased referrals as opposed to recommendations on Facebook where someone might suggest their cousin the contractor.

Whichever way you decide to search, make sure you start with three to five potential contractors that interest you, at least on the surface. Remember, when you’re searching online, the contractors that pop up at the top of your list with all the pretty pictures are spending a large marketing budget for those ‘ads’.

Narrowing down your list of construction contractors

Once you have three to five potential contractors, its time to do what I call a quick vetting process. Start by checking their license with the California State License Board (link). Make sure they are licensed, the license is still active and has no complaints, they have Workers Compensation insurance.

The CSLB website will also tell you when they originally got their license. Someone that’s been licensed for less than 3 years may not have the level of expertise and knowledge as someone who has been licensed for 10 years or more.

Next, check out online reviews on sites like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. Not every contractor will have a ton of reviews. Keep in mind that most people that are happy with their experience won’t spend the time to leave a review, but people that are unhappy will make sure to extract revenge by posting a very negative review. So, looking for negative reviews is more important than seeing a ton of positive reviews.

Screening Construction Contractors Near Me

After you’ve done your vetting process and narrowed down your list of potential contractors to about three, its time to contact them, meet in person and perform a screening process in order to decide which one to hire.

When you meet with contractors, you’ll want to be cognizant of their personality, attitude and working style. If you’re meeting with the owner of the construction company, you can certainly get a feeling for their personality. However, if you’re just meeting with a construction company’s salesperson, you wont really know much about the company…as this person’s entire job is to get you to like them and hire them.

Regardless of your experience with the in-person meeting, its ultra important to take a few more steps to vet the construction company. The first one is to call their recent client references. Even though the company will certainly only provide you with happy clients, you can get a sense of the positives and negatives they experienced during the project.

Another thing you can do is Google the construction company name and/or owner’s name. Go through a few pages of the results to see if you find anything derogatory like a lawsuit. Alternatively, you can run a background check which will unearth any lawsuits. You can also call their insurance broker to confirm their company hasn’t had any claims in recent years.

An Easier Way to Find Construction Contractors

If you don’t want to undertake the entire screening process I described above, there is an easier way to find the right contractor for your project. Companies like GreatBuildz were created to make this entire process easier for homeowners. Just make sure that any service like that you use takes a thorough approach to contractor vetting (link)

Getting Estimates from Construction Contractors in Los Angeles

In most cases, Construction Contractors will come meet with you and provide you a project cost estimate for free. For a larger scope project, they may only be able to give you a ballpark estimate of cost until you develop building plans that detail the work involved. For example, a construction contractor should be able to give you a thorough bid right away for a bathroom or kitchen remodel but might need plans for a room addition or ADU project.

When it comes to construction contractor bids, no two will ever be the same, so it will be your job to compare them carefully side-by-side to ensure each one thoroughly encompasses your needs. In order to get complete and consistent bids, its always a good idea to create a project checklist and hand it to each contractor.

Deciding on a Construction Contractor to Hire

construction contractors carpenter

Having narrowed down your list, you now have a selection of a few contractors who can undertake your project at a cost that meets your budget. You can now get into the last details before selecting the company you’re going to hire. Here are a few topics you’ll want to discuss to make sure the construction contractor is aligned with your expectations:

Building Permits – confirm that the contractor will secure the appropriate city permits for your project and show you evidence of these.

Communication – discuss the plan for ongoing communications and meetings during the project. Ask for several contact people at their company in case you can’t reach them directly.

Extra Charges – Discuss how they plan to handle extra costs that arise during the project. Every project ends up with extra costs, so you want to understand how they will be approved and negotiated.

Project Management – Determine the main point person who is in charge of your project day to day and ask how often this project manager will be onsite to review the job.

Agreement – Ask for a copy of their standard client agreement and read it over. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask for clarification and changes.

Deposit & Payments – Make sure the construction company only plans to take a $1000 deposit before the job begins. Ask for a schedule of payments and make sure it seems fair to you; so you’re not paying large amounts before the project has substantial progress.

Questions & Answers for hiring Construction Contractors

How much time should I spend on researching contractors?

The time spent on research is crucial for finding a reliable contractor. Allocate a few weeks to thoroughly research and compare different options.

Can I negotiate the contract terms with the contractor?

Yes, you can negotiate certain terms with the contractor, such as the payment schedule and project timeline. However, ensure that all changes are documented in the contract.

What should I do if I encounter issues during the construction process?

Address any concerns or issues promptly with your contractor. Effective communication is key to resolving problems and ensuring a successful project.

Do all contractors offer warranties for their work?

Not all contractors provide warranties, so it’s essential to inquire about this before hiring. Warranties can vary in duration and coverage, so clarify the details in the contract.

Is it necessary to hire a local contractor?

Hiring a local contractor can have advantages, such as familiarity with local building codes and suppliers. However, consider the contractor’s experience and reputation as the primary factors in your decision-making process.

How can I verify a contractor’s credentials?

Request proof of licenses, certifications, and insurance policies. Additionally, research their track record and review client testimonials.

How do I ensure effective communication with the contractor during the project?

Maintain open and clear communication channels, discuss expectations, and regularly update each other on project progress.

What are some common challenges faced in construction projects?

Challenges may include weather disruptions, material shortages, regulatory hurdles, and unexpected site conditions.

 

GreatBuildz is a free service that personally matches homeowners with ethical, trustworthy construction contractors. To get matched with a pre-vetted contractor experienced in fixing up classic home and various old home restorations, contact GreatBuildz today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website.

 

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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