I got about a dozen quotes. Roofers were knocking on my door when they saw my roof. Of the dozen or so estimates, 3 were the same price as Clearing. Checking BBB, etc, I found no concerns with Clearing. For 2800 sq. ft. the job was done in 1 day with 5 laborers. 2 roofs were torn off, bad wood replaced, used Timberline Architectural shingles (my choice). Painless, except for writing the check. I watched most of the job. Replaced my kitchen hood vent that did not have a flapper to keep cold air out. New lead stack. 1 trailer for scrap pulled by F150 truck, 2 vans. The crew did not even take a lunch break and had concrete for kidneys. I just wrote a check for about 1/2 when the crew and materials showed up and paid in full when they were done that day. I also did not sign a contract until they showed up to work so there would be no problem with a time line. Thus, I was in full control of the job. Nothing to complain about. Some of the material had to moved twice and the trailer would have to be dumped by hand. So I estimate they moved 13 tons of material. I figured I got my money's worth. I also paid $1,200 less than the highest quote. No up charges. To get a rating on BBB, the contractor has to pay $500 a year, so many don't join. Research Angie's List online and find out about it. You may be surprised . If you call, please mention Jim B at 6613. That will be my way of saying thank you to Steve, the contractor. He could not get a permit immediately because my town runs a back ground check on contractors that are new to my town. He passed with flying colors. I researched roofing, and I know how the job should be done. This job was done right with no cheating.
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I live in an upscale building in Downtown Evanston and Peter had re-done at least three unit's in our building in the 8 years I've lived here (everyone was thrilled with their results, by the way!). I had never hired a contractor before and needed to update my master bathroom so needless to say it was an overwhelming experience having to shop around for a contractor, choose a design that would not only be something I like but that would add to my condo's value, and be something that was affordable. Peter (the owner of PCH Construction) was terrific!!! First off, his pricing was the lowest of the three estimates but more importantly, Peter's 20 years plus of contracting experience proved invaluable. Peter helped advise me every step of the way and even allows his clients to take advantage of the contractor discounts from suppliers. Peter always answers his calls promptly and worked with me to accomplish everything I was trying to do with this space. The job was scheduled to take 4-5 weeks and he finished in exactly 4 weeks as promised! His workmen are long-time employees and TOTAL PRO's as their work and also work with only top vendors for things like the stone fabrication (cutting and installing the vanity top and shower stall threshold), Glass, and vanity cabinet)!!! Everything from the tile to the cabinetry, glass and stone vanity counter top was expertly done. Also, Peter and his staff keep things as clean and quiet as possible during the job, so no worries there either. You will be so glad you went with PCH!!! I could not be happier with the results!!!
This was my first remodeling project and to say I know absolutely, nothing about it is an understatement. I can confidently say that I know the very best contractor in Chicago: the owner of PCH Construction Company, Mr. Peter ! He deserve more than 5 stars! He was so patient and helpful to us, he spent an hour just going over all the things we want to do and answered all our questions. The whole time he's so sweet and pleasant so you don't feel bad asking at all. then he gave us a very detailed quote with very good price. Peter was always accessible by phone and would promptly accommodate our questions, concerns, and time frames for different phases of the project. He and his crew were very courteous and industrious; they arrived on time each morning and worked hard all day. They were excellent, trustworthy, very clean and respectful of the house. They set up the first day to keep things clean, like the floors and rugs, and then also cleaned at the end of every day and took the construction debris away. A pleasure and easy to work with, friendly to our dogs, professional from start to finish. We are very pleased with the end result of our kitchen and bathroom projects provided by PCH Construction Company. Highly recommended !!!
PCH Construction remodeled much of our home in 2008 with the exception of the kitchen. The 2008 remodel included completely renovating the master bath, guest bath, replacing all interior doors, replacing all light fixtures and painting the entire house. I am pleased to report that the improvements are holding up extremely well. Peter has been back to us several times over the years for other smaller projects. In October of 2013 Peter completed the renovation of our kitchen with a new granite counter top and stainless steel sink. As with the other projects, our kitchen remodeling project was extremely well planned and executed. Peter is aware of all the details of a project and can provide guidance to a homeowner if needed. He is excellent at keeping projects on track and his attention to detail is outstanding. His carpenters are always very courteous and neat too.
In early June of 2013, as result of flood damage, mold from our basement was discovered after my daughter experienced a severe asthma attack. TND transformed and delivered a newly constructed mold-free, impressively modern and sunny 4-room living space. More importantly they completed under schedule! In a considerate and accommodating manner, the contractor discussed and reviewed meticulously with me the process, suggested materials with in my budget and even relieved me of the daunting task of paint color selection; they chose colors I can happily live with for the next several years! What I deem particularly special about TND were the daily updates and progress reports on the work. We were unable to live at home during construction so it was reassuring to have virtual narratives of the progress. Honestly, I’m saving for the next home improvement project with TND!
PCH Company is among the few stellar construction companies in the metropolitan Chicago area. I highly recommend Peter and his crew for any project big or small. I had a small nuisance job (installing new baseboard on my first floor) and I expected to be ignored or relegated to piecemeal visits. Within one week Peter gave me an estimate, his capable carpenter arrived on time, and in no time my small project was completed. At all times he was pleasant, professional, prompt, tidy, and a pleasure to do business with. I so appreciate that he helped me with a small project, on short notice. PCH is the Bentley of construction firms.
I have meet Peter when I had a kitchen faucet leak in my rental unit. They picked up the phone immediately and scheduled a crew. The crew arrived on time with parts and equipment. It took them 1.5 hour to unclog the toilet and exchange the kitchen faucet. The crew was professional and polite. Price included all parts and material. Top notch service - recommend without hesitation! Since2009 I continuously use PCH for my personal projects and my business. I can not imagine working with any other GC more than Peter. Tons of experience, knowledge and superior customer service skills. Highly recommended!!
We first met Peter 10 years ago when he remodeled our kitchen and turned our attached garage into an extension to our kitchen. So when we decided to finish our basement there was no question who we were going to call. Our basement had many air ducts located in an interesting arrangement but Peter created soffits that hide everything and still looks elegant. Peter worked with us to complete the basement we dreamed of within our budget. He is easy to work with, professional, and flexible that PCH is the only construction company we would ever call for work around our house.
I have a friend who just moved here to Trumbull Park Homes. Before the move in we noticed that there were no pictures of the inside of any units. Fast forward a few months and I see that the units are decent in size. The property itself is somewhat maintained but could use a bit more attention. The neighborhood is relatively quiet and free from riffraff. Its the winter months so I hope it continues throughout the summer. Overall it is an okay place to live.
I had my deck done by Powerstone and must say they did a heck of a job. They where very professional and respectful. I didn't know what to think about them but once I saw the finished product I was sold. After the final walk through I noticed a minor imperfection and brought it up to the owner he made sure that it was fixed with out questions and excuses. Just wanted to say thank you guys! Next project I'm definitely calling you first.
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.