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.
We have not taken the time to express our thanks to J.P. Gallagher Construction for the remodelling job that they accomplished in our home. We have been so happy with the outcome and have been enjoying the beauty and functionality of our kitchen. We wish we have gone to you sooner! All of our family and friends have been completely astonished with the transformation and are in awe as to how quickly it was done. While we are still trying to rearrange the place, we simply love the entire area. We are now thinking about working on our bathrooms and we are definitely considering hiring their team again. We are very grateful and we look forward to working with this company again.
For homeowners like us who are looking for services for bathroom remodeling in Sacramento, CA, get it now from J.P. Gallagher Construction, INC. We’ve been looking all over for the right contractors to do the job and we just couldn’t find one we were satisfied with. Luckily, it just so happened that our neighbors recently had their bathroom remodeled and they recommended the guys who did it to us. We saw their newly remodeled bathroom (which they kindly let us see even though it was a little weird, but we needed proof so we asked) and it looked amazing! We hired the company to remodel our bathroom and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Our bathroom now looks way better than before and we weren’t inconvenienced because they finished their work in a timely manner!
J.P. Gallagher Construction handled the remodeling of my bathrooms in my home. These were 3 different bathrooms. One bathroom was for the guestroom, another was for the master bathroom (for me and my wife), and the last was the main bathroom of the house. We understood the challenge of our requests, but surprisingly they made the entire process so easy. The contractors were obviously experts as they knew exactly how to handle all the different requests we had. And they had a lot of great pieces of advice for us, too. The results were fantastic and well worth the cost we spent.
JP Gallagher sent over a team to do my bathroom remodeling for me while I was away on a trip. I am a contractor and have built the design myself but I just do not have the time to actually do it. I needed a team I can trust who had experience and the right knowledge that suits the skills I needed to bring my design to life. And with their years of experience, I was confident in their skills and professional work. And I was definitely impressed with the results and the amount of time it took them to accomplish my ideas. They are definitely a great team to work with.
After the devastating fire in our home, we were referred to J.P. Gallagher Construction for our fire damage restoration needs. From the very start, they were very understanding and easy to talk to. They are definitely represented very well by their entire staff. They walked us through every step of the process and they treated our home with utmost care and respect. Going through this process was not easy at all, but they made us feel at ease knowing that their team of professionals were going to help us out. We felt comfortable with them and they did an amazing job all throughout. It was a pleasure getting to work with them and we received the best customer service around.
I had JP Gallagher Construction handle the remodeling of my bathroom in my new home. I needed a more child friendly bathroom and never felt at ease with my old one, with the children running around all day. Their team was very accommodating with my concerns and gave me different options for the design. It was so fun working with them in building the design exactly the way I need it to be. The process of remodeling was fast and I was so pleased with the results. It made my everyday situation with my children a lot easier. Thanks a bunch!
I am pleased to say that J.P. Gallagher’s work has exceeded our expectations. They did a great job when it came to our water damage restoration. They also did the clean up after the horrible flood. They were able to listen to our needs throughout this very depressing time. They came in well prepared to do the job as quickly and efficiently as possible, and we were satisfied with everything they had done for us. Plus, their staff was incredibly kind and they even gave us tips if ever we encounter a flood again. We are so grateful to have worked with them during the dark hours. They really lifted up our spirits and we will gladly share our experience with others.
I am pleased to tell everyone that JP Gallagher Construction’s work exceeded our expectations. They did a very good job! It was a very depressing moment for us, but they did the clean-up and fire restoration efficiently. Their staff came into the picture and they were determined to get the job done. They would come in daily and go straight to work. Before they would proceed with any kind of work, they made sure to explain the process. They were also very attentive to all of our questions and were not hesitant to give us answers. I just want to thank them for providing their services during our darkest hours. Their company made the situation a little more bearable.
Called to get a quote on fencing around our property. They came out, talked about what our options were and said they would email the quote. Never received anything. Called twice. Said they would put it in the mail but we never got it. Stopped trying to reach them and just did the job ourselves.
I had an extremely unfortunate accident in my home where a fire broke out due to some electrical problem in my kitchen. It was devastating, stressful and chaotic. A family friend recommended JP Gallagher construction because they do such intricate and thorough jobs with fire damage. I was not disappointed. They responded quickly, and the inspection was fast but clear. They explained each part of the repair and restoration process and why it was important to do so. I was very happy in the end, after first assuming that it would be a difficult and stressful situation to overcome. Instead I left it to their professionals, and they did a wonderful job. It’s like it never happened. I was so happy with their fire damage services and very thankful at 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.