Finding and selecting a contractor is an important choice in your home improvement project.
We've put together some resources to help you make an informed decision.
Decide on your project scope
Do you need to replace a broken water heater or HVAC system or seal and insulate your home to improve comfort and reduce your energy bills? We have rebates to help you make your home more energy efficient, upgrade from gas to electric appliances and prepare for future upgrades including:
- Replacing your HVAC system
- Replacing your water heater
- Upgrading your electrical panel
- Installing an electric vehicle charger
- Sealing and insulating your home
If you're considering multiple upgrades, check out our Home Performance Program.
Find a pro
The first step to any home improvement project is to select a qualified contractor. The SMUD Contractor Network is an online directory where you can search for a contractor using a variety of criteria:
- Type of project
- Languages spoken
- Financing offered
- Women, minority or veteran-owned
Once you've entered your search criteria and click on "Show results", you'll see up to three contractors that match your needs, are familiar with SMUD rebates and have high customer satisfaction scores. Search results also include detailed information about each contractor, direct links to their websites and a one-click email tool for direct communication.
Note: SMUD does not endorse or warrant any workmanship, installation, labor, cost or materials of the contractor you select.
Rebates and financing
The SMUD Contractor Network contractor you select will submit eligible rebates on your behalf. Many participating contractors offer financing though Sustainable Home Improvement Loans.
Do your research
Finding a good contractor requires a bit of research. To help you get started, we’ve put together these tips and resources.
Read online reviews
Online reviews are a good way to generally see how happy past customers are with a contractor’s work. The following sites can help you find reviews:
If you're using a contractor who isn't in the SMUD Contractor Network, we recommend you do the following:
- Hire only CA state-licensed contractors with a valid license, such as the following:
- Attic and/or Wall Insulation: C - 2
- Central Air Conditioner and/or Heat Pump: C - 20
- Cool Roof: C - 39
- Heat Pump Water Heater: C - 36
- High Performance Windows: C - 17
- Photovoltaic (PV) Generation System: C – 10 & C – 46 or B (General)
- Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDHW): C – 46
- Home Performance: B (General) plus Building Performance Institute Building Analyst (BPI-BA) certification
- Check contractor license numbers online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
- Confirm the contractor carries Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance policies
- Get at least 3 bids
We recommend you get at least 3 references from each bidder and be sure to call or visit the reference.
- Get all project expectations in writing
- Sign a contract only if you completely understand the terms
- Never make a down payment of more than 10%
- Never pay in cash
- Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project, including all payments
- Never make a final payment until you are satisfied with the job