“Apples to Apples” Comparing Bids

To help our customers accurately compare bids, we put together a list of items to check.

A.  Make sure the contractor’s license is current and active
  You can either ask to see the pocket id provided by the Contractors State License Board or go to www.cslb.ca.gov (click on Consumers link and scroll down to check a licensed contractor).
B.  Compare insurance coverage

Check to see if the contractor carries General Liability insurance.  You can request a copy of “Certificate of Liability Insurance”, which lists the insured party, the insurer, the policy number, limits of coverage and expiration date.

Make sure the contractor has Workers’ Compensation insurance for their employees.  Workers’ compensation information is available through the Contractors State License Board website or you can request a “Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance”, which lists the insured party, the insurer, the policy number, limits of coverage and expiration date.

Find out if the contractor is bonded.  Bond information is available on the Contractors State License Board website.

C.  Compare the number of coats

With new surfaces, such as wood, make sure you know how many coats of primer and paint are included in the proposal.

When repainting with new colors, find out how many coats are included in the proposal in case coverage is poor.

D.  Compare materials

When comparing bids, check that one contractor has not budgeted for the lowest grade paint against another who has budgeted for premium paint.

Comparing primers is critical for new surfaces and exterior restorations.  Surface specific primers are critical for a good long-term paint job to last.  Redwood, metal, masonry and drywall all require their own type of primer.  A contractor that uses a universal primer is not comparable to one who uses surface specific primers.

E.  Compare work force

Check to see if the contractor has enough employees to get in and out of your home so you have the least amount of disruption or to keep your construction project on schedule.

Having people in your home you can trust is very important.  Ask the contractor about the length of time the employees have been with the company.

F.  Compare references

Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for current references.

Examples of questions to ask the references:
Was the crew clean?
Did they finish when they said they would?
Did they stay busy all day?
Were you pleased with the work and the way it was done?

  Proper disposal of paint, paint related materials and solvents are important on the job and to our environment.  Find out how the contractor disposes of excess product at the end of your project and if the contractor has an Environmental Protection Agency number for the disposal of oil based products and solvents.


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