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.
There are several important decisions you'll have to make amidst any construction project. One of them is how to supply heat and a…
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HORRIBLE!!! They are the rudest most unprofessional company I have ever dealt with. They did not do anything correct. DO NOT USE THIS CONPANY!!!
I bought a voucher off Groupon for Air-Duct cleaning for this company in May. I called the 1st avalibe appointment they had was June 14 between 12 & 4. I confirmed my appointment on the 13th they said I would get a courtesy call 30 minutes before they came. I sat at home all day at 3:45 I called to ask for an update and was advised a supervisor would call me back. I received a call back at 3:55 from a very unprofessional woman. She stated that the employee was still at another job. I asked why I wasn't called about the delay she replied they don't keep track of their employees and usually only find out that there is a problem when a customer calls and that all she could do was rescheduled me. I advised her that I am a single mom and can not afford to take off work again and asked for her supervisor. She stated her son owners it and was in meetings. I advised her I already paid for it on Groupon she again said she couldn't do anything but rescheduled and couldn't offer me any thing for my waisted time. She laughed and said it's no different than what the cable company does. I said not sure what that means I have cable and didnt have that problem with them. I asked her when her son would be in for me to talk with him she then replied she didn't know and said her daughter-in-law owned it and not to call back or I would be in trouble ( she hung up on me 3 times so I keep calling back). The last time she answered she said she didn't know when her son or daughter-in-law would be in. I replied they own it and don't check-in or come into their business? She laughed again and stated no they don't have to because they have responsible employees. I never got a call back from the owners like I asked. I contacted Groupon again and even tho it was passed the 30 day allowed refund time they gave me a full refund for my trouble. I would not use this company or trust them in my home. I just checked the BBB to file a complaint and they don't have them listed.
I called because I had a coupon for $50. I had to wait a month to get an appointment for the cleaning. The man showed up and told me because I have small home his equipment won't fit in sorry but I owed him 50$. I told him no he did not do a bit of work and was not getting paid. Told me his office would call to reschedule to have another guy come out. I told them not to bother... Waste of time and my day off...
Schneller Heating and Air Conditioning came to my rescue when my furnace stopped working one evening during the coldest weather of the winter. A very nice Customer Service professional actually answered my call, unlike the other companies that I called who had an answering service or other obviously uninterested person taking their calls even though they claimed to be a 24/7 provider. Schneller’s on-call HVAC tech, Kevin Bowen, arrived within about an hour to diagnosis the problem. Kevin patiently explained the situation and showed me how to manually run the furnace until the needed part could be ordered and installed. After he installed the part, Kevin also stayed in touch throughout the next few days until he was sure that there were no further problems. He was extremely considerate, honest and respectful and reassuring during a worrisome time. It was so refreshing to find a modern company that still believes in old fashioned values of integrity, reliability, and true caring for their customers, which is not easy to find these days. I highly recommend Schneller Heating and Air Conditioning to anyone searching for a company they can trust.
Extremely professional, courteous, knowledgeable, and arrived promptly for scheduled appointment. I am extremely pleased with SCHNELLER on every level. John was one of the best workman I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with....Thank you John! I wish there were more stars to give them... Thank you SCHNELLER!!!
We had a problem on our home hvac system for 5 yrs due to faulty installation from another company. It never worked properly and it seemed that we spent more time fixing the unit than actually using it, so i had Schneller come take a look, I haven't had a problem since. Recently, our basement flooded due to a clog in the floor drain. When i called Schneller, they came out and fixed it within hours. Their techs are always professional, courteous & helpful.They hav install units in 2 of our rentals and they work great. I wouldn't use anyone else for my plumbing & hvac needs.
quick but very though nice to have him
You morons should know you can't get your vents cleaned for under $50! This is no different than the national carpet cleaning company that advertises $99 for 'whole house' but adds money for each stair and tries to upsell stain resistors. If it seems too good to be true it is--there's a reason that's a well-known saying.
Kevin B. is the most professional tech I've ever done business with. He is courteous, on time and his knowledge of his work is obvious. I will never go to another company to service our furnace! I wish I could call on him to fix everything in our house!
I used a $49.00 coupon for unlimited vents so when the guy came and counted the returns and mains, the price jumped to $400! It's a total bait and switch. But, since I had tenants in my house and they had dogs, i wanted the vents cleaned. The guy did spend 3 hours here so the vents are supposedly clean, but since my dryer vent cleaning was free, he did not have a way to catch all the lint that comes out the duct on the outside of the house, so it was all over my lawn. I had to clean it up after he left. I was upset because the $49.00 coupon price went to $400 (that is 10 times the amount almost, that is total MISADVERTISING). They did give me an estimate, but what a RIP OFF, I would recommend calling around and letting them know how many total vents you have before they come out to your house and guilt you into paying all that money. Now I feel dupped! I will put it on Facebook too, do they think they can rip off everyone like that?
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.