Oakland 2019-01-30T17:06:17+00:00

Oakland Home Improvement Categories, Remodeling Tips & Top Contractors in Oakland

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT OAKLAND CONTRACTORS

Remodeling your home or creating a new space in your house can be just as stressful as looking for a home to begin with. Unlike buying a house for the first time, finding a general contractor in Oakland, CA doesn’t come with a realtor or guide. You don’t want to settle for the first phone number
you come across or pay too much, but how would you know? How are you sure this person does good work, is reliable, and you’re paying a fair price?
Randomly searching for a general contractor in East Bay or judging by general contractor salary lists won’t get you too far either. There are a few things that can get you on the right path to remodeling your home and these three tips should help ease the stress when looking for good contractors in Oakland, CA.

Local References and Ratings via Neighborhood Apps

You want a general contractor with experience and any professional would be able to provide references due to that experience. You probably already know people who’ve worked with general contractors in Oakland, CA and you should ask them about their experience. Were they happy with
the work? Did they have employees or randomly employed helping hands? Did they have to redo any part of the remodeling and how’d the negotiate on price? Like shopping for any service, talking with the customers can provide you good insight. Check with neighbors and friends, co-workers, or if
you’ve seen their sign around in a yard ask the homeowners.

If you find that no one you know has had home remodeling done then there is always social media. There are plenty of groups and neighborhood apps that provide a forum to discuss these kinds of things. You can talk with people in Oakland about remodeling concerns or experiences, whom
they’ve worked with, and perhaps even find Oakland remodeling contractors.

Experience in Your Project

You wouldn’t hire someone that has zero experience or schooling in the available position and you wouldn’t go to a barber or doctor who didn’t know what they were doing. It isn’t any different when choosing general contractors in Oakland, CA.

You have every right to ask a general contractor to see photos of their past work and a reputable one will be prepared with a kind of portfolio. Ask for recent references and reach out to them, aim for three that had similar home remodeling done. If the Oakland remodeling contractors you’re speaking with don’t have any examples or next to no experience with the project you need to be done, probably best not to hire them. It would be like hiring a plumber to fix your pool because both know how to work with water and pressure.

Check for Licensing in Your State

This is very important, work with those who have a general contractor license. This can be verified either by them showing you or even how you find them. All licenses and registrations are housed in city or state government facilities and you need only find the proper building to go to. More than that, they’ll probably have a directory of sorts for you to flip through. On that list, because they’re licensed to do home remodeling in Oakland, CA.

If you’re not up to making your way down to City Hall or some such place, you could always reach out to the Better Business Bureau. They’ll have much more than which people have a general contractor license. The Better Business Bureau also keeps tabs on complaints and cases open on
various businesses and general contractors in Oakland CA, as well as the rest of America.

Having a license and a good track record with the Better Business Bureau will tell you that these are reputable Oakland remodeling contractors and know what they’re doing. Especially if they can show you past work, they’ve done similar to your home remodeling needs.

Take Your Time

Having experienced and legitimate people do your home remodeling is worth the investment and is cheaper in the long run. Don’t fret over every yelp review or listlessly pursue whatever a search engine throws your way, before investing in general contractors in Oakland CA, invest in your home by doing a proper search.

Talk with those who have had home remodeling done, look around neighborhood social media groups or apps, and always making sure the general contractor is licensed as well as their experience and track record. Home remodeling isn’t something you can afford many mistakes on
and it isn’t like looking at a room in a catalog or store that suddenly appears. Hiring general contractors is a bit of a gamble and you want to mitigate that gamble as much as possible.

Take your time, rush jobs are always a bad idea.

3 STEPS TO A HAPPY

OAKLAND

REMODELING EXPERIENCE

STEP 1

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF & SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PITFALLS IN OAKLAND

 

STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL REMODELING CONTRACTOR IN OAKLAND

 

STEP 3

ESSENTIAL POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR REMODELING CONTRACT IN OAKLAND

 

Oakland Home Improvement Categories

Architect
Asbestos Abatement
Awning
Bathroom
Cabinetmaker Carpenter
Closet Organization
Decking
Driveway
Drywall
Electrical
Fire Prevention
Fence
Flooring
Garage Doors
Granite Marble & Stone
Handyman
Home Entertainment
HVAC
Insulation & Acoustics
Interior Design
Interior Decorator
Kitchen
Landscaping
Locks & Security
Lighting
Painter
Pool & Spa
Plumber
Roofer
Remodeling
Shutter & Blinds
Solar
Stucco
Tile
Water Improvement
Windows & Doors

STEP 1

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO ENSURE
A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
QUESTION ANSWER
1. How do I know how much it will cost to achieve the look I want and how long it will take? 1. Select a few local contractors and get a ballpark estimation of cost and timeframe.
2. How can I make sure I don’t get fooled or robbed? 2. Find out the approximate average market cost in your local area before you decide on a budget. This gives you the power of negotiation with your contractor
3. Whom should I trust and how far should I trust a contractor? 3. Trust those whose attitude is that the client is king – or queen – and make sure you have a strong contract.
4. What type of planning should I do? 4. Do your research, have an idea of project cost and know your own budget. Know the timeline you expect.  Consider possible pitfalls that could arise.
See our checklist: Solutions to Common Pitfalls
5. How do I know what type of quality is right for me? 5. Consider your needs and your desires combined with the reality of your budget.
6. How can I improve and individualize the final result by using my own creativity or DIY? 6. Consult with your designer and browse ideas in magazines, websites and blogs such as:  
7. How can I make sure that the contractor is responsible for the performance of any subcontractors? 7. Put it in your contract.
8. How can I negotiate with my contractor? 8. Know the terminology contractors use. Know the ballpark local cost. Don’t be afraid be say when you don’t understand. Make sure the contractor does not rush you but takes the time to sit and explain everything. Be specific and clear in your needs and wishes.
9. Should I use a designer and can my designer take charge and manage the project? 9. For larger projects a designer can save you time, money and produce a better end result.  The designer should be checking the quality of work and products side by side with you, the client.
10. How do I choose a designer? 10. Make sure the designer is reliable, with a good reputation and references. Make sure you have the same aesthetic. The designer should offer a fair payment schedule, linked to the payment schedule of the contractor that protects you through to the end of the project. Schedule should be based on project progress rather than dates.
11. How do I ascertain whether references are genuine? 11. a) Referral from a friend
b) Reviews from sites that are cross referenced – Yelp, Houzz, Better Business Bureau c) Listen to the contractor’s answers to questions about other projects.

STEP 1

SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PITFALLS TO ENSURE
A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
POSSIBLE PITFALLS SOLUTIONS
1. Going over budget. 1. Declare your budget to be at least 15% less than you can actually afford.
2. Feeling shy and uncomfortable because your budget is small. 2. However small your budget, still declare it to be 15% less than you can afford. Don’t feel pressured into going over. Stick to your plan.
3. Feeling more like a victim than a client. 3. Choose a contractor who believes that the client is king – or queen!
4. Not planning for unexpected costs such as finding dry rot or termites. 4. That is what the extra 15% is there to cover. Assume you will need it.
5. Assuming that your plumbing, electrical circuits, subflooring etc. are adequate to support your remodel. 5. Check with a specialist before going ahead, particularly if it is a big project. The fundamental structures may have to be upgraded. Better to find out before you embark on your project, not once you are committed.
6. Assuming that you will be able to easily and frequently communicate with your contractor. 6. 2-way communication is vital. Make sure your contractor listens to you, as much as you listen to him. Make sure you feel comfortable with your contractor during the selection process.
7. Letting your contractor act as a designer as well. 7. Designing and contracting are two different jobs. Hire a designer who can monitor the contractor’s work.
8. Underestimating the time it takes to choose colors, finishes, appliances etc. 8. Unless you are willing to spend your days, weekends and evenings looking at tiles and comparing faucets, hire a designer who will make the process smoother and quicker.
9. Assuming that your contractor will not have conflicts with his subcontractors that can affect your timeline. 9. Make sure your contract covers this and has a penalty clause if the project is not finished on time.
10. Receiving lower quality than you were promised. 10. Obtain a detailed breakdown on the scope of work of the products and brands to be used.
11. Having difficulty getting the final touch ups finished off properly. 11. Hold back the last payment until the final walk through and you are totally satisfied.
12. Assuming your project will finish on time and planning an event accordingly. 12. Always assume your project will take 50% longer. You will be far less stressed. Of course don’t say this to your contractor! If it finishes on time, it is a bonus.

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STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
1. Will I need a permit for my renovation and if so, can you arrange that for me?

How long will it take to get the permit?

2.

How many similar projects have you done in this neighborhood in the last year?

3.

What type of warranties do you give on this type of project?

What does the warranty cover?

4. From your experience, are there any surprises that I should be prepared for?
5. How will you work with my designer?
6. When can you give me an itemized estimate that covers:

  • work to be done
  • materials needed
  • labor required
  • time it will take

What do you need from me to be able to do this?

7. In your experience, how often does this type of project go over budget and time?

STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
8. What precautions do you put in place to minimize the mess factor in my home?
9. How do you find it best to communicate once the project is underway?
10. What kind of documentation will I receive when the project is done?
11. What do you do with the leftover waste material?
12. What payment schedule do you usually use?
13. What date would you be available to start?
14. References: Remember anyone can manufacture references that may not be genuine.

Can you tell me about other similar projects and how they progressed?

What problems were encountered?

Listen carefully to the details of what the contractor tells you.

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STEP 3

ESSENTIAL POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CONTRACT
FOR A HAPPY REMODELING EXPERIENCE
A contract is a legally binding agreement between you and the contractor that promises an action. Your bid document will usually become your contract once it is signed.  It should spell out the full scope of the project. This is the time to nitpick and scrutinize the document and ask questions about anything you are unsure of. It is so much easier to resolve issues if they are agreed in writing upfront. Don’t be afraid to add to the contract. Don’t rely on the contractor to include everything but do ask him if he thinks anything else should be included to ensure that the job can be successfully completed.
Key information that should be included:
Contractor’s name, address and contact information
Name of the contact person who will oversee the project
License number, proof of licensing and insurance and what the insurance covers. All subcontractors

must have their own workers’ compensation and liability insurance or be covered by the main contractor

Full scope of work
Total cost of project with individual pricing for agreed items
Itemized list of materials, with specific brands noted if requested. If the contractor

is willing to give you the itemized price as well, so much the better

A clause that allows you to purchase and provide material yourself if the contractor needs

to substitute an item, or you do not like what the contractor selects or the price he is offering

A clause that states that the client and the designer will sign and approve certain agreed

materials (e.g. kitchen counter top, hardwood flooring, paint color) before installation

by the contractor

Warranties for the project and the products used
Timetable for starting and completion
Responsibility for obtaining building permits
Payment schedule that should be based on work progress rather than time and date
Penalties for missed deadlines
Process for making changes once the project begins
A “broom clause” to cover demolition and cleanup provisions

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More Nuggets at
Helpuremodel.com

ORGANIZATIONS FOR OAKLAND CONTRACTORS