I just got my bathroom remodeled by Bella, and I continue to enjoy it every single day, as well as my children. The tub is finally big enough for the kids to pretend "swim" in, and we thank Tom for suggesting to go with the bigger tub to suite our family needs. If you are a parent, you know how tough bathtime can be, and ever since the guidance I got from Tom and the project manager, bath time with the kids has been so pleasant. The functionality of my bathroom now is just amazing, I have space in the double vanity we got, I have space in the linen closet we got, I have shower in coves (tiled) for all our shampoos and such (which now the kids cant get to). The workmanship from this company and their carpenters is just impeccable. Any issue we came across, they handled immediately and with perfection. There was just one small issue with tile date arrival (partly my fault for picking special order tile), but Tom was able to get the girls in the office to research and track down my tile so there was absolutely NO delay! I was very impressed with everyones work ethic from start to finish. The finish is great and we are so happy. If you want your bathroom done in a timely manner, with all the great design details and functionality for your family, then contact these guys. I kid you not, it was such a pleasure! Thank you to Tom, Eric, and all the staff at Bella!
It's difficult to find a good contractor- either someone recommends one or you look in the telephone book and take your chances, or nowadays on the internet. I selected Lorenc based on the favorable reviews I had read online. After the latest snowstorm I had water leaking down through the roof and through my kitchen ceiling and into the basement. Lorenc came out fully prepared to go up on my 3rd story roof and he did. He was able to tell me what the problem was and what was needed to correct it. This is a very knowledgeable man when it comes to houses and construction. Lorenc and his team of workers were true gentleman and respectful of us and our property. They were careful to cover things with plastic, laid tarps on the floor because of the snow and ice, cleaned up after each phase of the job. The roof and gutter system were repaired, interior walls/ceiling were repaired and painted, basement wall- beautiful. As I said- it is difficult to find a good contractor- and I know one when I find him. Lorenc is a gem and I will have him do any construction /renovation work that is needed here in the future. Trust me- this guy is good!
I called mr contractor to give me an estimate on the outside of my home. Steve, the fourth generation of the company called me back 3 hours after I called in for my request for work. We had an appt set for the following day and he even confirmed the night before. I was very impressed because previous people i called half of them didnt even return my call or even show up. Mr contractors price came in a few hundred dollars more than the other co i called out but the explanation as to how the work was to be performed and the timeline of the job was way better than the other co who basically said we can change your siding and cover the windows with metal. I would highly reccomend mr contractor for anyone who is looking for a call back the same day and an estimate on the spot and a job done on time with a weeks notice as to when they ar going to start the work. Thanks to steve and the crew - Joe And Joey. I hope you guys the best and will be defenitley calling you for future work and passing on your name to my friends and family.
I'm back again! Although this is my first time leaving a review for Bella!!! I have had both my kitchen and bathroom remodeled by Tom and Bella Brothers. I have nothing but great things to say about this company. I was so happy I decided to call Bella, the girls are so sweet in the office and very accommodating. Tom was prompt on all his appointments scheduled with me, and kept in touch throughout all my remodels (both kitchen and bathroom renovations). I was really scared I was going to be out of the loop and not understand what was going on during construction, but the men were so nice to explain things to me, and their processes. I'm sure I was a pain, but they never showed it on their faces :) I chose to have Bella remodel my bathroom after my kitchen because of their diligence while working on my kitchen. I couldnt imagine a better company to tackle such big jobs for me. so thank you again guys and look forward to that basement renovations we've been discussing! Sincerely, Melisssa!!!
I had bad experiences with contractors in the past. I contacted mr Contractor and steve came out within one day of contacting the office for an estimate. He came out with over 2000 pictures of before and after pictures of work his family company completed. He wAs on time and spent an hour going over every detail of our deck we were interested in. His ideas were great and the price was about $900 over what we budgeted for the deck, but his knownledge and reputation of the company reassured me the job would be done to perfection. The crew came on time and worked straight through. A total of six days and the deck was done. Our neighbors loved it and had some work on their homes as well. If you want a professional job done hire mr contractor and ask for steve for your rep. They were awarded philly magazines best contractor in 2007 and have an A rating on angies list with a super service award in 2009 and an honor roll award in 2012. Also highly ranked with the BBB
I first came across Bella Brothers (and Tom) when I was driving one day. I saw their truck and spoke to the owner (Tom) about the project I wanted done and he assured me that they could handle my project. Much to my satisfaction, they did, and the project was just as I had imagined. It wasn’t easy to wrap my brain around doing a project as large as mine, but when I met with Tom, I was completely put at ease about the details of the addition (permits, ect), and was reassured, he and his company would handle everything. I was very nervous about a job this big, but now I am more glad then ever I chose this company. The girls in the office were amazing and always there to get any question I needed answered. I am grateful for Bella Brothers, Tom and all the workers and office staff there. I will be contacting them in the future with ANY other project I need. Sincerely, J. Himes
Sharon M is a scam to all my customers. A few things to note there was a company b-dry who they stiffed for $10,000.00 , additionally i have pictures to prove that the floor was put back to the prior height and receipts that the type of concrete was 4000psi. Also sharons husband was fired for corporal punishments for making contact with kids here is the link, this scum bag was hitting kids. http://thenotebook.org/blog/102698/fired-philly-teacher-calls-ackerman-testify-civil-rights-suit. Payments were per Standards 1/3 1/3 andd balance when done. i will see you in court and continue on with your slander, pay your bills dead beats. and I had a 3rd party look at the floor when we removed it and his report will be know. You are irresponsible and tell the tuff guy Boy friend to lay off hitting kids. you people make me sick!!!! now i deal with facts...
We called the company out for an additional bedroom we wanted to build. The man that came over, Ken, was not looking at my old space but envisioning the finished room. He knew exactly what needed to be done in every part of the floor it's on and spent time answering any questions we had. He never made us feel like we were bothersome with our inexperience and many questions about colors and closets and electricity. The job was done from beginning to end with every specification nothing less than perfection! Ken and Mr. Contractor is not just a construction, painting, slapping together a room type of business. At. All! Ken is an artist in his own right seeing beauty and potential where there are old spaces in need of renewal. Thank you for everything Mr. Contractor! Especially the way you treated our family. You're a class act a all the way! 5 STARS!
I had done a lot of careful research before picking Mr. Contractor to finish my basement and remodel my two bathrooms. I looked at Dunn & Bradstreet, BBB, and NARI for reviews. When I did some research on Google I came across many positive reviews on sites such as Yelp, Angie's List and Thumbtack. I have learned to become very cautious when handing over a lot of money to a contractor. You never know if they will be a "fly by night" type of service. I felt good about hiring a company that has been around for over 50 years. Anyhow the salesmen were great, the crew was amazing and even the secretary was a pleasure to deal with. My basement and bathrooms turned out spectacular. I highly recommend Mr. Contractor to anyone looking for a honest and highly skilled company to remodel your home.
MY MAIN DRAIN BROKE IN MY BASMENT (WHICH WENT UNDERGROUND) AND I COULDNT USE ANY WATER. EVERY CONTRACTOR THAT CAME IN NEEDED A WEEK ADVANCE, HUGE DOWN PAYMENT AND COULD NOT GIVE ME A SOLID QUOTE. KENNETH DIXON OF DIXON PLUMBING CONTRACTORS CAME IN AND (SIMPLY) EXPLAINED THE SITUATION TO ME AND MY WIFE, DEVELOPED A PLAN AND BEGAN WORK THE NEXT MORNING. MY WORRIES WERE INSTANTLY REMOVED AS THEY LAID OUT THE GAME PLAN. MORE THAN GREAT PLUMBERS THEY ARE GREAT PEOPLE. KENNETH DIXON WAS VERY UNDERSTANDING OF OUR 4 YEAR OLD (WHO OF COURSE DEMANDED TO BE NEAR THE WORK SITE LOL).... GOING WITH DIXON PLUMBING IS A GOOD DECISION NO MATTER HOW YOU SPIN IN. THANK YOU KENNETH DIXON OF DIXON PLUMBING CONTRACTOR BY THOMAS SHERIDAN IN PHILA PA
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:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
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:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
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.
Hiring a General Contractor
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.
Finding general contractors
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.