Remodeling and Home Services
The following information includes tips you can use when choosing and hiring your contractor.
  • Get at least three bids. Before hiring any contractor, get at least three written bids (estimates) for your project. Provide the contractors with accurate plans or drawings so they can determine the scope of work and costs involved. If prices differ by a wide margin, you may consider obtaining additional bids. Beware of any bid that is substantially lower than others. This may indicate that the contractor has made a mistake or has not included all of the work quoted by other contractors.
  • Ask for references. Ask potential contractors for references in writing. Call the contractor’s previous customers and ask if they were satisfied with the work. Go out and look at the work for yourself.
  • Hire a licensed contractor. Even licensure cannot guarantee satisfaction; however, a licensed contractor has met experience and examination requirements and must fulfill certain conditions to maintain the license. A licensed contractor must have workers compensation insurance, a bond and have established financial responsibility. This protects you from unnecessary liability. A licensed contractor is regulated by the NSCB. A licensed contractor who violates the law (Nevada Revised Statute 624) may be disciplined by the board.

The NSCB licenses contractors in several different classifications:
A – General engineering contractor
B – General building contractor
C – Specialty contractor (e.g., electrical, landscaping, air conditioning)

Upon licensure, a monetary limit is established for each contractor based on his or her financial ability to maintain and complete contracts up to a certain amount. Contracts written in excess of the established limit are invalid.

The type of contractor you hire will depend on the kind of work you want done. For example, if you want only roofing work done, you would hire a contractor who is licensed as a roofing contractor. If the work you want done involves more than two types of work, you may want to hire a licensed general building contractor who will coordinate the appropriate licensed specialty contractors (subcontractors).

Before signing a contract, make sure the contractor is licensed in the correct classification and within the appropriate monetary limit. Ask to see the contractor’s “pocket card,” which will state the classification for which the contractor is licensed, the license number and the monetary limit. If you have questions as to the validity or status of a license, call the NSCB.

You also may wish to check with the Better Business Bureau in your area and the state of Nevada’s Department of Consumer Affairs to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.

Having a written contract protects everyone concerned and prevents confusion if anything should go wrong. Be sure that the contract is dated, signed and specifies exactly what is being provided for your money. Do not assume or expect to be provided with anything not specified in the contract. Make sure the contract has adequate plans and specifications or other adequate descriptions of the scope of the work to be performed. Ensure that all change orders are in writing and signed by both you and your contractor.

These following are things that you should look for in your contract:
  • Contractor’s license number and classification
  • Contractor’s monetary limit (the highest amount for which he can contract)
  • Exact amount due from you under the contract
  • Date the work will begin and the number of days anticipated for completion
  • Work to be performed and the materials to be used
  • Approximate percentage of the work to be subcontracted with a list of subcontractors
  • The contract must be signed and dated by both parties.

It may be advisable to look for the following as well:
  • The name and address of any salesperson who solicited or negotiated the contract, in addition to the name and address of the contractor
  • A detailed payment schedule
  • Warranty terms
  • A provision requiring the contractor to obtain lien releases from all subcontractors and material suppliers

Take the time to review the contract and make sure you completely understand its contents before signing it. Don’t let a contractor or salesperson rush you into anything. If you are confused about the provisions of the contract or have questions about lien rights or other matters, consider hiring an attorney to explain them to you.

A lien is a claim (a right of a creditor over a debtor) against an asset (item of economic value: your home), which is used to secure a loan. It must be paid when the property is sold.

— Mechanic’s or Material Man’s Lien?
When a contractor (or supplier) provides labor or materials for the construction of improvements on real estate, the mechanic’s lien law gives the contractor a security interest in the real estate.

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