How can I make this project go smoothly?

It helps to know what you want, and what you need!

1.   You should know as much about what you want to have done as possible.  That sure sounds simple enough, but many people only have a vague idea of what they want to do, which can result in disappointments and misunderstandings.  The more details you have ready to give to the contractor, from room sizes and intended uses to colors and types of appliances and trim, the better your chances will be of getting the finished product you are hoping for.

2.   Review the California State License Board website  This site can provide you with a wealth of information such as what you should know before selecting a contractor, tips on hiring a contractor, the benefits of a licensed contractor vs. an unlicensed one, consumer information, filing complaints, and more!

3.   Know what currently works and doesn’t work about your existing home. Know the problem areas that your existing home provides.  For example, Our Kitchen is our family meeting place, but there isn’t enough space for all of us to sit comfortably.  We also like how the entry way is separate from the driveway.  These are good tips to provide the contractor with to ensure a smoother project.  Together with the designer, we will provide solutions that will offer you years of enjoyment in your new home!

4.   Have a Budget – know how much you want to spend for your project.  A good way to establish a budget is to ask a realtor to provide you with comparables on what some of the better homes in your neighborhood are selling for.  The difference between the current selling price for these homes and the price you paid for your home is a decent measuring stick of what you could spend on your project and get back if you had to sell your home within a short time period.  If you plan on staying in your home for a long period of time, this method becomes less important.

5.   Know how long the project should take.  Does the contractor provide a schedule as to when they will be on the job, and what work they are going to be doing that day?  This information will also assist you in being informed and involved in your project.

6.   Do you plan to stay in the home during the remodel phase?  This can be a very stressful time.  If the power or water has to be shut off, this can be a burden to you if you are hurrying to get ready for work in the morning.  A home under construction will be very dusty!  Dust on your breakfast cereal doesn’t taste that good!  If you plan on staying in the home while it is being remodeled, ask your contractor what inconveniences will occur and plan for them.

Do you have referrals?

Of course!

We have lots of referrals for our prospective clients to choose from that we will gladly provide when you are ready to select your contractor.  Because we bid on many jobs, we will make every effort to protect the privacy of our clients.  We try to reserve this information until you are ready to narrow your decision down.

How can I find out information on a contractor I am considering?

A great question!

Ask your prospective contractor for their state contractor license number, full business name, address, and business phone number.  You can find out information on your prospective contractor by going to the state contractors license board website

This site provides information such as their Worker’s Comp Insurance (which is required by law if the contractor has employees), General Liability, their Bonding information and more!

A Friend of mine says he knows someone who can remodel my home for much less.  He has been doing this sort of work for some time but is not licensed.

Unlicensed contractors pose a risk to your financial security because they expose you to significant financial harm in the event of injury or property damage.  Few unlicensed contractors have bonding or workers' compensation insurance.

If you contract with someone who does not have a license, the Contractors Board may not be able to assist you with a resolution to a complaint, and a remedy against an unlicensed contractor may be available only in civil court.  This is only one more good reason to work only with licensed contractors!  Another consideration is that unlicensed contractors may not have the expertise and qualifications to do the job right the first time.  You could end up having to hire a licensed, reputable contractor to correct the work.  You paying for the job twice.

Ask to see the contractor's pocket license and some additional form of identification.  The name on the pocket license should be the same as the name of the contractor or business name the contractor is working under.

It is illegal for one contractor to use another contractor's license just as it is illegal for someone to use another person's driver's license.

When you establish that the contractor's or company's name matches what appears on the pocket license issued by the Contractors State License Board, and before you sign anything, check the CSLB Web site, - check license  to find out if the license is valid.  The contractor's license status page will also help you verify the contractor's business address, describe the kind of work that the contractor can perform, if any legal action has been taken against the contractor's license, and if the contractor is properly bonded and insured.

Complaint information about a licensee is disclosed after the complaint has been fully investigated and has been referred for legal action.  Complaints involving probable violations that will likely result in legal action referral is also disclosed.  (See - filing a complaint describing the CSLB's complaint handling process on CLSB website.)  This information was obtained directly from the CSLB website.

The last time I hired a contractor they only showed up once in a while.  There were days when nobody showed up at all.  The project dragged on for what seemed like forever!

That sure can be frustrating.

We at Saratoga Builders promise that when we start the job, we will be on that job every day until that job is completely finished.  We have bid against contractors in the past who say they will complete a job in 6 months, when we can do it in 2 months because they don’t plan on being there every day as we will!

How do I know how long the project will take, what will be happening, and when I have to make certain decisions such as the type of materials I want to select?

Another great question!

We provide all of our clients with a calendar detailing how long the project will take, what work will be provided and when.  We will also provide on the calendar the key dates when certain decisions on materials need to be made, prioritizing them for you as to their importance.

On the last job we had done, After I signed the contract with the contractor, I never saw or heard form him until he wanted money.  He never returned my calls, and I never saw him on the job.  How aften will I see and hear from you?

That too can be quite frustrating, and unfortunately very common in this industry.

We like to schedule progress meetings with our clients once the job starts.  These meetings can be weekly, or whatever fits your busy schedule.  We also return all phone calls promptly, and can communicate by email if you prefer!  It is important to know that Robert Tager, the general contractor for Saratoga Builders has 45 years of successful experience.  We do no advertising. All of our business comes from referral.  If you have a pleasant experience and are pleased with the quality of work we perform, we hope that you would refer us to someone you know.  This is how our business survives and grows through our satisfied family of clients, which we hope you will soon be one of!

The last contractor that came out to bid my remodel gave me a handwritten 3 sentence note on a piece of paper with an amount on it.  What can I expect from you?

We at Saratoga Builders pride ourselves on our professionalism, and attention to detail.

We will provide you with a detailed scope of work, outlining all work to be performed, materials to be used, encompassing the entire project.  The bid will also include all costs associated with your project, as well as the terms and conditions.