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.
Joe Meehling and team came out to do a major renovation on the "bump out" of our house. We knew we needed new floors and insulation under the floors. Joe came out, gave us a great quote for the job and we scheduled the work. Along the way Joe and his crew were able to deal with numerous problems from the previous construction of the bump out, including floor joist work, and water damage that resulted in the rebuilding of a wall. Each time he identified a new problem he also identified a solution that was cost effective. He took pictures of each step of the project to keep us in the loop and made sure we understood where things stood. We love our new floors will definitely call on them again for any future updates to the house.
I hired Joe Meehling and Priority One Construction to remodel my master bathroom. This was a major remodel, they closed off one of the doors to the bathroom, expanded the shower, tiled the shower, the shower floor and the bathroom floor, installed a new vanity, replaced the toilet, installed a new storage cabinet, light fixtures, mirror and faucets. They did an amazing job and I ended up with a beautiful, high-class bathroom. Joe and his crew did a great job with the tile, he gave me suggestions to keep the job on budget and came up with a shower design that is just beautiful and even included a little shelf for my shampoo and other products. Even though the bathroom wasn’t enlarged, it looks bigger and I just love the large shower. Priority One was always on time, gave me a great price, dealt with the issues of an older home and kept me informed of any issues. He always asked me when something was in question and made sure I was satisfied with the project. He definitely went above and beyond what was required on our contract. I was very impressed with his professionalism and the high quality work. I would definitely recommend Priority One for any remodel job.
I recently discovered that my deck was pulling away from my townhouse and pulling my basement wall out with it. Joe Meehling, the owner of Priority One Construction, was able to come out and take a look. My deck and wall issue was more serious than I was able to describe to him over the phone. He made my project a priority, rearranged his schedule, pulled some of his workers off another job and started working the next day to stabilize my deck and wall in order to get me through the winter without some bigger disaster happening. After one week, my basement wall is back to vertical, and the deck is stable. Joe was very attentive to making that happen. He met with my insurance adjuster and has offered to come back out to help me meet with the structural engineer that the insurance company is sending out later this month. I am very happy with the customer service Joe provided and have told him that I will definitely use Priority One to build my new deck next Spring.
Joe Meehlng and Priority One Construction renovated my kitchen and I'm just amazed at the awesome job they did. Joe and his crew were very professional and did an amazing job building me a new kitchen. I had Priority One take out a wall to open up the kitchen to the dining room and they removed everything from the old kitchen and replaced it with a new expensive looking modern kitchen. They put up new cabinets, install granite counter tops, added new lighting, re-tiled the ceramic floor, added a tiled back splash, replaced the window, put in an under-mount sink, added a bar level counter top and installed new appliances. Everything turned out beautiful. Joe worked with me to pick out a kitchen layout that was much better than my previous one and met my needs and even allowed me to make a couple adjustments as needed. He worked with me to pick out a tile for the back splash to compliment my new counter tops and came up with a design that I just love. He was very mindful of my budget and gave me suggestions to help me to stay in budget and yet I still feel like I have a high quality kitchen. Joe Meehling and Priority One Construction were very professional and a company you can trust to do a great job at an honest price.
Stay away from this nightmareJoe Meehling had his crew worked on adding a shower to our bathroom. After he took several thousand dollars from us, we noticed the discoloration of the grout in the entire shower floor, unevenness and stagnant water not draining properly sitting on the floor for hours. We have since also noticed a very expensive deeply scratched threshold on several places and several cracked tiles along the walls. We requested Priority One Joe Meehling to come out to take a look and fix it. We expressed our dissatisfaction of the careless worked done on the shower floor mosaic. He was very dismissive and audaciously insisted that he was doing us a favor by paying out of his pocket for a small tile insert which was done incorrectly to begin with. Joe Meehling doesn't care to repair the damage he has done. He failed to do the job well as he promised, while the lack of communication with his crew due to him not being on the job site and while rushing in and out from other jobs left consistent workarounds and his main tile installer confused on how to proceed several times. Once you step inside the shower the dips in the floor and sharp edges from the tile can be felt. Again, once we noticed the issues just a few days later, I clearly explained our dissatisfaction with the floor and insisted that he repair it. We have had professional contractors provide us quotes on the repairs and its not just a couple of hundred dollars but a couple of thousand which very clearly explains why Joe Meehling has been so dismissive to repair the shower floor. He still to has not made an attempt to remedy the situation. Please ensure you speak with reputable companies and speak with other customers prior to hiring a contractor. This has been a nightmare. Stay away from Priority One Construction and Joe Meehling.
In my opinion, NV Homes are built with the cheapest materials and the project managers are just snake oil salesman. Since I bought this house new in August of 2013 I have had so many workmanship issues that range from: crooked window installations, house pressure valve that ruptured, fence footing that was so thin that the gate is coming apart, plumbing that does not drain out properly, the use of caulk to fix wood work...and the list keeps on growing. In my opinion, I don't think this house will not last 30 years.
Poor experience. Bad communication, contractors were consistently late, work was less than impressive. Would not recommend.
I completely agree with the review below. The leader of the organization is a wild card, unresponsive and is not truthful. Never gave us true deadlines and will cost you a significant amount of money in the long run because of the shoddy work they do. The president is unorganized, young, immature and incapable of being a professional. You will regret working with DDG, find anyone else, a Freshman Civil Engineering student would probably serve you better than DDG.
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.