Orange County 2018-10-31T14:36:51+00:00

Orange County Home Improvement Categories, Remodeling Tips & General Contractor in Orange County

Our 3 Steps to Finding a contractor in Orange County

Finding the best general contractor in Orange County is more than locality, it’s a deep familiarity with the community itself. Working with your town in any capacity requires an investment in it and helping people make their home more like their dream home only builds the town’s beauty. So, how do you find competent renovation or repair services when looking for an Orange County contractor? There is the obvious thing like comparing prices after a conga-line of quotes, but how do you know that a contractor isn’t just a scam artist team that happens to work in California rather than people who take the job seriously? Let’s cover some things to help you get out of a random Google search, the parade of paid for reviews, and into planning your remodeling with competent, trustworthy contractors.

1) Keep It Orange County Based

You want contractors who have a permanent place of business rather than a wandering workforce. Some individual contractors advertise around California rather than cater to a specific community, they have less to invest as their profession is centered around one-offs. This isn’t about treating nonlocal businesses unfairly, but this way you know the contractor has proper licensing and knowing previous Orange County customers helps to vet the contractor. Having a community in common with the contractor also means you can get the inside track, perhaps you have friends in common or know if they price some home improvements or renovations differently.

Using a search engine to find contractors in California won’t do much as businesses work to get listed in different areas rather than actually being in them. They could be miles outside of Orange County but pay to be listed there and that defeats the purpose of hiring local contractors. If they’re just paying to be listed as contractors in Orange County that may mean they don’t have the right licenses to do work in your home. It could also be the case that an insurance company won’t let you hire a contractor that it isn’t in your area, so it’s always a good idea to check with them if it’s that kind of situation.  each state requires contractors have insurance and if they’re local you know which California municipality to call to check that they can legally do business and are properly insured.

2) Ask Your Neighbors

Another nice thing about working with local general contractors in Orange County is how easy it is to get references from neighbors. Don’t be afraid to walk up to one of the neighbors that you see is undergoing renovations and ask about the team they hired. Ask them how they vetted them, ask about the work they’re doing and cost, ask if the contractor is located in Orange County, and where to go meet them for a consultation or quote.  Communities are good for these kinds of things, getting the inside track on service provided. Think of how many times you ask your friends about a cable or internet provider before signing up. You talk about experiences and issues, pricing, etc., all these things can be applied to looking for the best contractor as well.

The other useful thing about talking with your neighbors when looking for the best contractors in Orange County is that they may know someone personally. Nothing like the personal touch as that could get you a deal and a better job may be done since they’re working within their own social circle.  Also, talking with your neighbors can help save you from a scam artist. If they were unfortunate enough to work with a sleazy contractor in Orange County then they’ll be able to warn you, tell you who seemed sketchy, and ultimately remove a shady contractor from the “contractors near me” results.

3) Community Review Boards

There are plenty of apps and community newsletters, flyer boards, and web forums dedicated to your neighborhood, you should look through them. People tend to socialize and promote in a myriad of ways, from the internet to a local coffee shop, so don’t neglect these outlets. In a web forum, you’ll probably hear about home renovations and tips from your neighbors about who they worked within what capacity. Remember that not all contractors in Orange County, or anywhere else for that matter, specialize in everything. If you’re looking to spruce up your bathroom that could require a different contractor than if needing a new porch.  This also gets you out of your social circle, which can be very helpful if no one you know has hired a contractor in Orange County before. Widening your exposure to this particular business will quickly inform you as to what you’re looking for, how best to go about it, and the general costs. You can compare contractors before having a line of them giving you a variety of quotes. It’s a time saver in many ways to consult the community.

Looking for the best contractor in Orange County doesn’t need to be a nightmare nor do you need to scour numerous search engines filled with paid posts and reviews. You can explore local contracting businesses and fuel the town’s economy, you can talk with neighbors and determine who is the best contractor for you or stave off a scam artist, you can also chat on neighborhood web boards and get the lowdown on work performed for neighbors you don’t know. There are many ways to get off Google and find a contractor in Orange County, but these three tips are a good start.

3 STEPS TO A HAPPY

ORANGE COUNTY

REMODELING EXPERIENCE

STEP 1

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF & SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PITFALLS IN ORANGE COUNTY

 

STEP 2

QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL REMODELING CONTRACTOR IN ORANGE COUNTY

 

STEP 3

ESSENTIAL POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR REMODELING CONTRACT IN ORANGE COUNTY

 

Orange County Home Improvement Categories

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

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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ORGANIZATIONS FOR ORANGE COUNTY CONTRACTORS