Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much should I give for a down payment?:
A: 10% of the overall price of the contract or up to $1000 whichever is less.
Q: How many days do I have for a full refund of my down payment if I chose to cancel the project before it begins?
A: Seven (7) days from the date of the down payment.
Q: How are block walls calculated when estimating?
A: Block walls are calculated by linear foot. So a 50' L block wall is multiplied by the price per foot. Example: 50' L x $ = $X
Q: How is concrete flat work (ie: patio slabs, driveways, etc.) calculated when estimating?
A: Concrete flat work is estimated in square footage. So a ten foot by twenty foot slab is calculated by the following example:
10' x 20' = 200 sq ft x $ per sq ft = $X
Q: If I already have the material, can I hire a contractor to install it?
A: Yes. You can hire a contractor for labor only, but you must ensure that you have all the material needed for the project plus 10% extra.
Q: Can I hire a contractor on a "per hour" or "per day" basis at wages?
A: No. Doing this you assume the role of an employer not a client and you may be subject to California state employment laws. The contractor should give you an estimated time of completion and an estimated price for general labor.
Q: Before actual construction begins, what should I do to prepare my property?
A: Make sure that "all" personal items of yours are removed from the area. This includes: tools, children's toys, patio furniture, household pets, potted plants, etc. Do not assume that these items will be safe from damage or from theft.
Q: Who should obtain permits for my project?
A: You may obtain permits yourself as an "Owner Builder" for most projects on your property that require permits. Though it is always best to have the contractor pull permits. This ensures that the contractor is aware of any special regulations and or engineering requirements the city or county may have.
Q: I have three quotes for my block wall project that have a price difference of about a $1000 dollars and my budget is tight. Who should I go with? The cheapest maybe?
A: Be leery of the lowest bid.
- Take into consideration that the lowest bid may be just a phishing attempt to get you locked into a deal where midway through the project the lowest bidding contractor may begin to ask for more money to complete the project.
- A mid priced bid is usually suitable for most clients as this may fall squarely into their budget considerations, but don't look for free extras or easy design changes after the bid has been accepted and work has begun. There won't be much money in it for the contractor to assume the financial costs. You'll more than likely have to pay for changes yourself which may be quite expensive.
- A high bid may be more expensive by several hundred to several thousand dollars, but in most cases you can be assured of quality service, material, production, and a timely completion as well as having the option for small changes and extras that the mid and lowest price bids may not offer.
Summary: Make the right choice based on your budget and intuition. Ask the contractor for their years of experience and whether they are a family business or come from a long line of builders. You can sometimes get a feel right away for whether a contractor takes pride in his or her work or whether they are just in it for the financial gain and could care less for you as a customer.