Oregon Construction Contractors Board

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Before you get under way with your home remodeling project Janice Bangs went to the experts to find out what you need to know about hiring a contractor. Stan Jessup, Enforcement Manager for the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, shared valuable advice. For questions call the OCCB at 503-378-4621 or head to their website here.

Finding contractors:

  • If they don’t have a contractor in mind, they should ask people they trust (friends, neighbors) for recommendations.
  • Or, they can ask people in the industry. Maybe a plumber knows a good electrician, for example.
  • We would urge caution in using craigslist or other online “lists.” The reviews just don’t provide sufficient information.

Verify licenses:

  • Once they have a short list of contractor candidates, they should get CCB license numbers and check them out on our website
  • In nearly all cases, contractors must be licensed to work on home projects
  • It’s important to verify the license is active, the name on the business matches the person you’re doing business with. Also, you can see if the contractor has a complaint history.
  • CCB numbers are required on any advertising by the contractor, including business cards, websites and contracts.

What’s the risk of using unlicensed contractors?

  • Unlicensed contractors don’t have a bond to reimburse you for poor workmanship
  • The CCB can’t help mediate if there is a dispute
  • The contractor probably doesn’t have liability insurance to cover property damage or injuries he or she might cause while working
  • Unlicensed contractors can’t pull required building permits and that can come back to haunt you, the homeowner
  • They may not have workers’ compensation coverage to cover job-related injuries to employees, potentially exposing you to liability

Other tips:

  • Probably most important is get a written contract and make sure it includes start and finish date as well as price and payment terms.
  • It’s also important to include detailed project plans and/or a list of materials to be used. Otherwise, you may envision granite countertops and custom cabinets and your contractor sees laminate and off-the-shelf cabinets.
  • Any changes should be put in writing and signed by you and the contractor.
  • Communicate regularly with your contractor. A good contractor works hard to make you happy. CCB surveys show that 86 percent of customers are satisfied with their contractors work.
  • Should you run into problems, the CCB takes homeowner complaints and helps mediate disputes.