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4797 Mercury StSan Diego, CA 92111
From Business: In operation since 1989, Jackson Design and Remodeling is a custom home builder that serves clients in San Diego. The company offers design and build services for…
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When a neighborhood gentrifies, it risks losing its identity and character as the storefronts and owners change hands from old to new. We have seen a lot of this over the last two decades as Hillcrest has undergone a dramatic change from a depressed business section to the bustling mecca of small bars and independent owners that it is today. Furniture and Treasures owner Amin Usman faced this challenge when he moved his business from La Mesa, where he had become an established member of the professional community for over ten years, to the main street of Hillcrest. Now the dilapidated walls have been replaced by a light sage color covering the completely renovated interior. The smell of exotic woods fills the room as the light walls contrast and compliment with the rich and dark colors emanating off the aged Indian rosewood (shisham), teak, and elm furniture. A majority of the 10-20 artists and collectors whose work is featured come from China, India, and Indonesia. Each handcrafted piece is personally chosen by Amin, and with over 20 years experience, he knows quality work and wood, when he sees it. Born in Pakistan, he spent much of his youth traveling Asia and Europe. After settling in Paris where he was partners in a fabric shop, he came to the United States to help his parents as they began to age. In the '90s, conversations with several friends on the condition of Indian imports began to stimulate his interest in carving, carpentry, and lumber. During that time, a depressed economy in India was only just beginning to emerge as the globalization and export capital it has become. In this early stage, the lumber was being shipped damp, causing it to crack and split a few years later as it dried. "The first thing I did was buy a moisture meter. I never lost any money on it, and almost no one was using them." Checking each shipment by hand, Amin quickly gained a reputation for quality pieces from artists, craftsman, and supplies in the east, and from customers here. With his help, the industry matured, and the highly prized shisham began to be cured and air dried in the deserts of Rajasthan. In 2002, due to his work and reputation, Amin was personally invited to India to the newly built Indian convention center's first furniture show. The bright exteriors mottled yellow and white is reminiscent of the desert from where the wood gains its distinct characteristics. Featuring a wide variety of styles, from colonial pieces, like the rustic rosewood console table with fluted legs ($495), the antique styled cabinet made from a centuries old modified doorframe, inlaid with ornate flower patterns ($1500), and an oriental styled coffee table lined with drawers with metal ring knobs, an aged dark stain stripped back so the warmth of the woods beneath glows through, and accented with a deep maroon on the legs interior ($695). Between customers, Amin has designed several of the smaller pieces on his own. Some of the decorative lamps and candle holders are his creations. But design is not his focus, the people are. "To prosper, you must have a niche market, good prices, and great customer service." So he spends most of his day with clients, working with them and helping to find and select the perfect piece for their home or office. Amin makes each client feel at home, offering them drinks on hot days, welcoming them to take their time and relax in each item. "For me, it is about building long term relationships. Someone will browse, three, four, ten times... but on the eleventh time, they will find something." He describes browsing as like a billboard, something you see everyday and never really think about until you need something.
I am excited to write this review about Recht G A Construction. Let me start by saying Gary is my cousin, but I felt like this review is defnitely warrented. Gary is awesome, great follow through. Excellent work, truly he's a dream if u know any one that ever needs a contractor he's the one to call. When Gary came out to my house he strategized on how to design our tiny crummy kitchen, making it bigger and making the space more user friendly for our family, taling about colors, and flooring, and granite. We had agreed on a price which he stayed with in. His guys were so nice they would not only show up, but they were considerate about the noise, since I work from home sometimes, and my neighbors have small sleeping babies. They showed up when they said they would, and cleaned up everything. Our kitchen looks absolutely incredible, the special touches that shows you not only does Gary really care about the quality of the job, but you can see his heart was in the work. We are considering selling our house and having a newly remodeling kitchen is very attractive to the new buyers, but man, we don't think we want to leave now, not sure about that. I have seen other work that Recht G A Construction has done and it's always really good. I feel very blessed to have an amazing contractor in the family, someone as talented and creative. Seeing our kitchen before it was awful, and it gives me great pleasure to brag, and write this review. I would never use another contractor for a project like this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Recently I had the opportunity of doing business with Clear Concepts Window and Door, and I must say that this is a company that provides a quality product and an excellent service. With so many window and door companies in the greater San Diego county, I was a little overwhelmed by choosing one. My neighbors had their windows and doors done two years ago. Last year, during what southern Californians' call the "rainy season" (I am from the east coast) the window and doors began to leak, ruining their new wood floors. When they tried to contact the company that installed the windows, they found out the company had gone out of business. Needless to say, I was a little uneasy about choosing just any window company. However after doing my homework, I found Clear Concepts. I felt a lot more at ease after I had learned that they have been conducting business in San Diego since 1989 and have an A+ rating with the BBB. The salesman was very informative and knowledgeable. The installation was very professional and timely. And, after shopping around town for prices, I found that their prices to be very competitive. I am so pleased with my new window and doors! I must say I was very impressed with Clear Concepts from beginning to end. And, again, knowing that they have been around since 1989, I feel confident that if I should ever need to call on them, they'll be around. If you're looking for a great company, I highly recommend Clear Concepts Window and Door. -Scott Jenkins Poway, CA
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.