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.
Happy with the house, but the after sale customer service was lacking. Hard to contact them by phone and they are slow to return messages.
Very unprofessional and the work was bad. He said he had a warranty on all his work but the front door started separating from the frame, the garage door is too high so my garage floods when it rains, he didn't finish the roof on the garage, he didn't secure the lock on my front door. He also took 2 weeks longer than he said to do a bad job. And he will. It return any phone call to come and repair his poor work. Do not use him at all, you will be very disappointed.
Start work tomorrow . Sounds like a good place to work I am a framer hanger finisher a lot of cracks under my belt
Small vendors beware. Mr. Mark Matthews wanted to hire my small cleaning business to go in and clean a 3000 square foot building. Upon request for a work order and trying to agree on a price for my services he stated that he needed me to just go in and do the work and he would "take care of me" and advised that he's been doing business this way for over 20 years. Told me he didn't have time to write up a simple work order, expected me to go in and do the job and trust that I would be compensated fairly. In the end I emailed him a final request and he phoned me taking a very unprofessional tone even after I explained that I had never even met him and that I did not feel comfortable doing the work without a written work order. He insulted my business ethics and hung up on me. Very unprofessional.
What a great crew to have come out and take care of your lawn and garden.
HORRIBLE customer service! I called early in the morning and scheduled a tow for 3pm that day. They called close to the scheduled time and cancelled the tow. Ok, I can understand unforeseen circumstances may arise. At that time, I had scheduled another tow for the following day at 8 in the morning. The driver did not show up at the scheduled time. At 8:15 I made a call to their dispatcher (extremely rude woman) and she said the driver was in route. At 8:30, still no sign of the driver, I made another call and she said the tow had been cancelled (no explanation as to why). What a complete waste of my time! I would not recommend their business to anyone.
Wes Paxton of Paxton Construction Corporation was issued at least nine code violations for the construction of my Norfolk home. Workers did not always show up on time or when scheduled. Pile Foundation of the home shakes excessively due to undersized, over spanned girders and overloaded pilings as reported by a Forensic Engineer and another structural Engineer. The home was set on the foundation crooked, and the gap filled-in with Great Stuff foam. Bolts holes, for the bolts holding the girders to the pilings, were drilled less than an inch from the edge of the girders, in violation of the minimum edge distance for these fasteners. Paxton installed R-19 insulation in the cathedral ceiling instead of R-30. Areas of the attic had absolutely no insulation covering them. Plumbing was incompletely installed and unvented through the roof. When I presented the liens waivers given to me by Paxton to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth in Richmond, they confirmed my suspicion that the lien waivers provided by Paxton were performed by Official Misconduct of the Notary and requested, I submit them in a formal complaint. As for the comments made above by Chesmomof3; Did he build your house? Did he sue you? Did he forge your name? Does your house shake back and forth like an RV on wheels, with bad suspension? Did he have unlicensed contractors work on your house? Did his son-in-law file suit against you for him? Did his daughter commit official misconduct while signing your lien waivers two weeks after the principal signatory signed the lien waivers? Did he alter the lien waivers he gave you from the suppliers? Did he get all his permits and inspections for the work he performed on your home? Did he settle out of court with you? Did he pay you $10,000 and dismiss the alleged $42,000 he was sueing for, to settle the morning of your trial? I bet not. Why did he drag me through a 2 year long legal battle and settle minutes before the trial was to begin? Your probably just friend trying to cover for him. How sweet of you. You obviously know who I am. I gave a real review. With real facts. From real experience. You are just trying to defend someone you know. Good for you. Have him build your next house. Better yet, buy mine. LOL, I didn't have insurance coverage to pay my legal fees. My costs to defend this suit were in excess of $50,000. That is real money out of my pockets. Not from an insurance company. I wasn't defended by my daughters lawyer husband. All the money I paid was real cash money, so he would not get away with what he did. And guess what, he didn't. I have paid for my right to write a review. There is so much more to this case than you know. With all this interest and concern with what happened, maybe I should make a website and include all the documents, evidence, and the depositions, so you can all see for yourselves what a great contractor your friend, Wes Paxton is. I see paxtonconstruction.com is not being used anymore. hmmmmm........ Maybe you can write an informed review when you truly know both sides of the story. I would be happy to provide all the evidence I have from both sides of the case. Maybe I can start a blog to get public opinion on the entire case. Wouldn't that be great? You did bring up a good point about there being two sides to every story. I want to be fair.
This Company is a first class contractor. They have a stellar reputation and have many glowing reviews from previous homebuyers for whom they've built homes. I read the previous review, and just remember that there are two sides to every story. People will say and do anything to get out of paying!
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.