What to Know About: General Contractors »
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
1006 E South StAnaheim, CA 92805
From Business: My Name is Todd Brown VP of Superior service. We are a service company based in Orange County CA, providing HVAC, refrigeration, electrical, cooking equipment rep…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
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If the Yellow Pages had a 10-star rating, this company would surely be deserving of such a ranking and workmanship!This company’s first, middle, and last asset is Customer Service - by far! It started with a phone call where Company Owner, Steve Hobson, was most courteous in answering all of my questions. Steve was so polite and concerned, that my appointment was scheduled within a day after explaining the situation, and the time constraint that my city gave me to repair my pipe leak. My city’s Meter Reader noticed that my water meter was continuously spinning, yet no water was being used.Upon his initial arrival, Steve assessed my broken pipe location that was from my main water shut-off valve, all the way to my water meter in its vault in the alley. This project would consist of jack hammering about 20 feet in length of cement, dig down about 18 inches, replace the broken pipe, re-do my main water shut-off valve (from a previous break years ago), back-fill the dirt, and replace the cement. This was going to be quite an extensive job, and little did I know that it was going to be a VERY thorough communicative relationship. Steve laid out a plan of action of what would transpire each day after I hired his company. He gave me plenty of advanced notice, so that I could inform my neighbors of the upcoming noise of a jack hammer on the first day. I wrote a very detailed letter to each neighbor explaining what was needed to be done and why. I asked Steve to read the letter and asked for his opinion, before notifying my neighbors. Steve was most gracious in utilizing his ‘own time’, just to verify my letter to 10 of my neighboring homeowners.As my tract is in a unique setting, our homes are very close together with no fence in between them, and face one another with a common green belt in the middle. There are no driveways, but a vehicle alley to access each house. Therefore, as a courtesy, I wanted to let neighbors know ahead of time of what to expect and when.Robert and Darrin from “PRO finish Plumbing” arrived right on time the first day of jack hammering the cement, and removing all of the dirt. Steve had been to my City to obtain the permit prior to starting the project. At the end of the day, Steve had texted me what was done and what to expect the next day. This communication continued throughout the entire job. If I had more than 3 texts (in a row) with questions, then Steve would call to elaborate – day or night, ‘well beyond’ business hours. If I sent a lengthy email, Steve would reply within hours. On the second day, my city’s Building Inspector checked out the installation of the newly replaced pipe and its connection to my main shut-off valve all the way to the water meter. After the inspection took place, Darrin then back-filled and compressed all the dirt into the long trench. As long as I had Steve on the job site each day, I inquired about my water heater that I had replaced last year. I wanted Steve to look at it to see if it was installed up to code. There was some minor tweaking that needed to be done; a pan needed to be installed, the (earth quake required) strapping needed to be tightened, and some valves that needed adjusting. So after replacing all of the dirt, Darrin then proceeded to empty my water heater and bring it up to code.On the third day, Steve had Jeremy help him in replacing the cement and asphalt. My city’s Building Inspector asked that the asphalt be removed that led to the vault, to check the placement and connection of the newly replaced pipe. The appearance of both pour jobs (cement and asphalt), were completely smooth and professional looking.PRO finish Plumbing’s standard not only sets-the-bar, it IS the bar! There is NO reason to search ANY further than THIS Company, to fulfill your plumbing needs!Most Sincerely,Thea E.
I love Stanley Steemer! They got me in during the holidays with a one day notice. Excellent job. I did have to ask the technician to go over a couple areas. Which he did cheerfully. And that took care of the problem. Couldn't be happier! Have used them in all my houses.
my carpet was full of buckles after he was done. i had another company come in to stretch the carpet and they said it looked like the carpet was only 40% clean...i will never use this company again. Victor was on his cell phone a lot of the time he was here
Got on their website and called the number for an estimate. Was told they no longer clean windows! Suggested they change their website. Wasted my time .
DO NOT USE THEM!!! They quoted me a price to clean chairs and stairs, then a guy shows up and tells my wife it is $70 more than the original quote!!! AND THEY DIDN'T GET ANY OF THE STAINS OUT OF OUR CHAIRS!!! RUN!!!!!!!
Thanks for cleaning the upholstery in my tow truck. Now i can actually seat clients in the truck. Thanks alot
I could not be more pleased with the work which was done here in my office. They were on time and they were also nice and explained everything without even a grunt. I was quoted with what I perceived to be a fair price and the work was absolutely top-shelf work. ALL of my stains on my carpet are nowhere to be found! The old company I was using just got to expensive and they did not get my carpets anywhere as clean as this company had. I'm stoked I found Anaheim Carpet Cleaning Services and their magical cleaning service and will use these guys from now on. A+ Bravo!
I would like to thank Ron for the way he clean my kitchen countertop tiles. They really look amazing.
VERY horrible experience with this company. Contacted them for carpet cleaning and they never showed. Took off the day from work to wait, never came. Rescheduled for the next day. Said they would come between 12-3, 4 o'clock rolls around, still no show. They call saying they are in LA on another job and will be there later. Tried to reschedule and they wanted to CHARGE me for a rescheduling. Do not use this company, they are very unprofessional and do not know how to deal with customers. Go somewhere else!!
All our garage door would do today was making a humming sound so my neighbor suggested calling this company for help. Their technician fixed it up in less than an hour. Great service.
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.