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.
45 Pearl AveBuffalo, NY 14219
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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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They were extremely personable, efficient, polite, and knowledgeable, getting the job done of installing a new toilet and fixing my flapper on the other toilet, within less than 24 hours. Other plumbers I'd contacted were booking appts three days out but not RotoRooter. They provided service within two hours of my contacting them. So efficient, friendly, prompt, and the toilet they installed has tons of powerful flushing mojo! Thank you!!
My representative knew what he was doing, gave me options on how to fix the issues, and took care of the situation.
So let me begin by saying I tried to fix this problem myself and failed. So I called Roto Rooter. I'd like to start with the staff that handled my phone calls, these employees were the friendliest, accommodating customer service reps I have EVER had spoken with. Im not sure where you find them or train them but these people are what EXCELLENT customer service looks like. Matt Orban service technician #103 that came to my house was was one of, if not THE BEST repair guy to ever set foot in my home. I just bought my house and it was in need of some repairs and in the past 6 months I have encountered some NIGHTMARE human beings calling themselves handymen (which is what led me to try and repair my bathroom leak myself, I was fed up with poor work and expensive prices) Matt Orban has restored my faith in hiring a big name repair person to fix my problem. He gave me an estimate as well as options without any obligation to getting the repairs done through Roto Rooter (in case I wanted to shamelessly try again) however I decided to have him do the work. He was in and out of my house in less than 2 hours and cleaned up after himself. Obviously he was not responsible for replacing the tiles so keep in mind the photos are for the pipe and faucet work only. Matt walked me through every step of the way, was polite as well as on time and efficient in his task. Because of Matt Orban not only will Roto Rooter have a customer for life I will do my best to recommend this company to any and everyone I can. Thank you to the whole Roto Rooter staff from start to finish this was the best experience with a repair company I have ever encountered and even though it was under terrible circumstances everyone made an unbearable situation manageable.
We hired Dipaolo and Sons, Inc. and its owner, Frank Primerano, to build a 16’ X 12’ addition to our home in Williamsville, NY. Mr. Primerano walked off the job after receiving 90% payment on the contract. Still to be completed was removal of topsoil and construction debris in the back yard and a solution to the significant water pooling which was creating a 6” deep by 8’ wide pool against the foundation. Mr. Primerano’s only answer to the water problem was to provide an eight-foot 2 X 10 plank over the water to the rear door, 2 feet above the water. It cost us twice what we withheld to repair his unfinished work. Additionally, upon inspection by the Town of Amherst building inspectors, several more problems were found due to Mr. Primerano’s unacceptable construction. Among their findings were: The necessity to provide stairs to the rear door, R-8 air supply ducts required were only R-6, there was no return air duct in the addition and a concrete PSI report on footers was never submitted. Most significantly, insulation in the crawl space floor of the addition was installed upside-down. This necessitated the removal and replacement of more than 200 sq. ft. of insulation. We incurred an additional 45% in costs to complete and/or correct his mistakes and get a Certificate of Occupancy. We are dissatisfied with the debris he left behind, backfill he left untouched, the lack of a proper drainage system, his apparent inability to render basic construction skills, his lack of communication with the Town of Amherst Building inspectors and his failure to comply with the Town of Amherst Building Code. We would never use Mr. Primerano or his company, Dipaolo & Sons again, nor would we recommend him to anyone.
Came home late in the evening to a broken sump pump and a basement full of water, ankle deep in some areas. Rotorooter sent someone out the same night and he was able to replace the pump and get rid of the water before worse damage could be done. Very appreciative!
I had an issue with a clogged drain/laundry tubs. Tom did a great job. He was pleasant, explained exactly what needed to be done, and made sure everything worked before he left. I will definitely recommend your services to my friends and family.
We had a plumbing emergency right before Christmas Eve. Roto-rooter was fast and efficient to get the problem solved the same day.
Roto-rooter came over at 10pm. They were swift, informative, and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend them in the future.
I was going to attempt to do the job myself but knew it was beyond my expertise. I've called Roto-Rooter several times in the past so knew I was going to get excellent service--and on a Saturday. I was quoted everything in advance regarding the level of service I might need. The technician arrived on time and everything was done within 2 hours from initial call to completion of work. So glad I left it to the professionals!
Could have set my watch as to the promptness . Watched all the work - at first I didn't know what I was looking at - then I became very impressed with their expertise . They instilled great confidence in their abilities ! Called another company at first - gave me an appointment for a week away. Called this outfit and they were in my driveway in an hour. Spent money on this project - as far as I can tell I got exactly what I contracted for . Very pleased indeed - will have them back for some indoor work !
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.