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.
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
AAA popcorn removal and chris barnard ended up being a complete nightmare. He was scheduled to do popcorn removal as well as paint the inside of my house, and have it all done before I moved in. He knew my move in date from the moment I met him. Once the ceiling was finished he told me he could no longer paint the inside of my house, and now I was left scrambling to find a painter in time, prior to moving in.I visited the house after not being there for a day or two, and I discovered a light fixture was missing from the house, and half my blinds were painted on and ruined. They also did not clean up the floor and the tile was covered in paint. Any professional popcorn removal service knows how to clean up after themselves, AND removes blinds and keeps them safe prior to painting the ceiling. At this point I could not get chris barnard on the phone, and I began to realize I was going to be stuck replacing a light fixture and blinds on my own. I emailed his wife who handles email communication for the company. I explained my issues, and I even said I was considering filing a police report for the missing property (the light fixture) . I also said I would give her time to respond prior to doing that, or leaving negative reviews or anything.This email finally got chris to call me back. He started yelling at me saying he was in a car accident and that’s why he didn’t answer me earlier. He yelled at me for “calling the cops on him” which obviously I did not do. i was only considering filing a report. Sorry chris, but in America when someone’s property is missing from their home, they are inclined to file a police report. With that being said, im sure all that happened is they broke it, threw it away, and will never admit it.
Dear Chris:I would like you to know how pleased we are with our recent ceiling job. It exceeded our greatest expectations. I can pretty much sum it up with a comment made by my wife after it was finished; If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d never have believed it could be done! When your crew left after the job was finished, you’d never known they had been there. The house looked the same as it had before they arrived, except for a “magnificent new texture ceiling”. Thank you again, Chris, for a job well done.
I really wish I had looked at the reviews before having them come to my home. Our home warranty company (Choice Home Warranty) sent these contractors to fix a plumbing stoppage- after coming out taking our money they lied to us. They said it was not covered under our warranty and it would cost another $200. They said they called our warranty company and they did not. He said he didn't have a snake to clear the pipes and another rep from AZ plumbing would come out. ALL LIES. We had to call our warranty company who sent out a different company. This company is awful.
THIS COMPANY IS A SCAM!!! I really wish I had looked at the reviews before having them come to my home. Our home warranty company (First American Home Warranty) sent these contractors to fix a broken disposal- after coming out twice we now have a disposal that doesn't work and our kitchen sink leaks! I HAVE LEFT MULTIPLE MESSAGES! PLEASE BEWARE OF THIS COMPANY!UPDATE: WOKE UP TO A FLOODED KITCHEN! This company did not come out and fix the problem as they stated and are not calling back. I have called on the cell phone that was given to me by this company to respond and have not heard anything back. Now we have a sink disposal with uncovered wires sitting in water that is all over the kitchen. Simmon the regional director has not returned a call- very upset with the service of this company!
BUYER BEWARE!!!! John Barret...BUYER BEWARE!!!! John Barrett will come to your door and tell you exactly what you want to hear. In the end, they left more damage to my screen enclosure than they fixed. They actually tried to use duct tape to fix my screens.If you call them, you are WASTING your time and MONEY!
This business is VERY unprofessional. They bully you calling twice a day to complete the work as a subcontractor because they didn't bid their job correctly. Then, they all of a sudden lose you number when they receive your invoice and don't pay you. DON"T USE THESE PEOPLE !!! You will never get paid. If I could give them a less than zero star, I would.
Fantastic company and very honest, good people. They are family owned and been in business for years. They were referred highly and will be referred to all my friends as well. Very professional job, very courteous, on time and on budget. Couldn't ask for a better construction company. Hard to find honest contractors here in Florida!
Took on a project to replace 3 windows ... did not start the job....made a lot of excuses , rain , had to go to Haiti etc etc....I had to transfer project to another contractor ..... never returned calls......Never returned the deposit or part of.....AVOID AGGRAVATION....AVOID JIM / BELKAY.PS - I have no interest in the construction business, this is an honest assesment.
I used Oceanview general contractors to remodel a rental apartment I have. They gave a fairly priced estimate, and explanation of work and permits required. Their contractors followed through with the project in a timely matter. I am very happy with the work Jordan and Trace did for my property. I would be happy to recommend them to anyone for an excellent job, by qualified professionals.
I used Ocean View to redo my kitchen and bathroom and was so glad I choose them. Their workmanship was excellent as well as their ability to finish my project in a timely manor which was a big concern for us. I used them because they did work for my neighbor who said they were excellent contractors. I recommend them highly.
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.