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.
Had my roof replaced with this company I’m very pleased. Jon inspected my roof and got it approved with the insurance company. Kate took care of everything with the insurance company, everyone I dealt with were great. Also insurance company made a mistake on covering the ice shield said they would then changed there mine after the work was done. American Dream only charged me the material no labor I would use this company again in the future.
My husband and I are currently building a home with T6. Per our contract with T6, our house was supposed to be completed in January, but it's not projected to be completed until August…that's right, 8 months overdue. My husband and I have been extremely responsive to any questions or decisions, and have always provided direction within 24 hours. The delay is entirely the fault of the owner of T6, Chris Thulin. He's even admitted that he's a horrible project manager, but doesn't offer any solutions, just the same apology over and over. If that's not enough of a reason not to work with T6, here are several more:• The owner, Chris Thulin, is not responsive, has not met one single deadline (even though he has set them for himself), and does not follow-up with vendors when he says he will. Chris also does not pay his vendors, so orders are delayed and none of his vendors want to work with him again. He has blamed the delays on his vendors, but we have found (with written documentation) that all the delays have been caused by Chris not placing the orders on time and/or not providing the deposits.• He lies, and has given us the bait and switch on things that he said would be included, but now suddenly are not.• Allegedly he has a list of standards that are included in his projects, but they are not documented anywhere. So, we've picked things out when meeting with the vendors Chris recommended, and then once he gets the cost estimates from them he says the things we picked are too expensive and not included.• He has zero empathy or remorse for the fact that we have to live somewhere temporarily, because he can't manage a project timeline properly.Bottom Line: The quality of work is not worth dealing with Chris and all the extra costs that are incurred because he does not deliver what he promises.
UPDATE TO THIS REVIEWThis is the second part to my review updated as of 6/15/2015: This is the second review for us with this company, 3 years later we are still waiting for them to fix the numerous problems with our siding. Everything from sagging panels to windows nailed shut (2 to be exact) to framed windows that were done wrong and now I have to duct tape my storm and screen windows onto the frame in order for them to be used. Our post on the front porch, they completely missed the siding when they nailed the wrap on it. Not professional enough to allow for the frost line around our door frames. The list goes on and if anyone wants to truly understand how awful the job was done, you are more than welcome to come and see for yourself. When the job was done the first time, they damaged my husbands car, my neighbors truck and had debris all over the neighborhood as far as 6 houses away. We are STILL finding nails all over our yard! I will add, even though it should never have happened in the first place, someone did come out after our complaint and helped clean up all the debris and they took off the $1,500 worth of damage to my husbands car from the total owed. Almost too obvious to call it "making it right", they did not have a choice. We are business owners to! We have too many issues to possibly list on this site. I have many pictures and Bill has come out and agreed that the job is awful and needs to be addressed. Kudos for recognizing that there are indeed issues that need to be addressed, however, once he returned back to the company, the company is refusing to fix any of it. They DO NOT use their own contractors!! They subcontract every job! They send out the project and accept the lowest bidders for the job. We did manage to get lucky with their roofers and gutter contractors. They did a superb job and were competent and did quality work. But it is a gamble we are not willing to take with our home in the future. Let me quess, you are reading reviews because they have shown up on your doorstep within a few days or weeks of a big storm??? I said they are to storms, what lawyers are to car accidents "ambulance chasers" Everyone I know says "they contacted us!". One of my last reviews a woman from ADHI responded saying they are not ambulance chasers. What do you call it then? We have had the good fortune to have a few good men come by from the company who recognize the problems and have tried their best to resolve our issues. They have said time and time again that they are disappointed to see such shoddy quality of work, but their hands are tied. And they are! The reps that come out do not own the business. They understand the problems, but once back at the office, the management refuses to address the problems. The contractors that they use are who represent their company. They need to start hiring better people and then STAND BEHIND those who screw up the job. It is a gamble for them also to use so many different people, but if you gamble on the wrong contractor and lose, then you need to "make it right" and fix those issues. Love to have you come by, talk with my other friends and see for yourself! I do realize that "someone" from ADHI WILL respond to this with some eloquent response that will sound all professional and make us look like we are "way off" in our review.
Stay Away!!! This company is terrible. They just take your money and then do as little as possible to complete the job. Andrew Daigle is awful. He never returns phone calls and doesn't follow through with what he promised you.The company isn't any better. You can never get an answer and as soon as they have your money, they could care less about you. We've had nothing but headaches dealing with this company and am still waiting for work to be completed.
Started this project right after Easter I wonder if it will be completed by the 4th of July. Salesman keeps saying he's coming over I'm still waiting
No estimate prior to work. No advance notice of work being done. Unused materials still in my garage. No project manager to inspect work with me and address concerns regarding obvious faulty installation of flashing. Overcharged initial billing (did not adhere to quote/estimate agreed upon). Possible damage to property due to neglect and lack of communication when work would commence. terrible and very corrupted company trying to rip you off and your insurance company. They will show at your property and tear your roof off without you even signing the contract with them yet. They will apologize but then you will find yourself stuck with them.....DO NOT WORK WITH THEM!!!!!!!Lots of promises that never happened. Money disappears and not able to get a hold of anyone. Told they can do a certain type of work only to find out at the end they don't even do it. Save yourself the painAgain Do not work with this company , do not allow their people to your valuable premises.They are simply mislead people.
Someone named Jon from this company came to my mothers house (which was unoccupied at the time) and told me I needed a new roof. They promised me that they'd get it done for me for free because of some government program that pays for houses that have high wind damage. Well, we hadn't had any bad storms in quite a while, and something for nothing ALWAYS sets off the red flags with me. I politely told him I'd think about it, and then never got back to him. Jon was a neighbor, so it was inevitable that I'd run into him again when I was taking care of the house, and I eventually did. Each time he pressured me to hire this company and get my "free roof." He always acted surprised that I wouldn't want to jump on this great deal, but the more he pressured me, the more I decided against it. This guy was either the philanthropist of the century or a total scam artist, and I don't believe in Santa Claus. So I kept putting him off, never giving him a flat out no, but never implying that I was interested either. Then one day, after a week of totally beautiful weather, (no rain, no storms, no high winds, nothing) I came to the house and found a whole bunch of shingles all over my property. They had clearly been pulled off of the roof! They even tore some off of the garage roof. Strangely enough, none of the neighboring houses seem to have been damaged by this mysterious storm that only affected one house on the whole block. I guess it was an easy target, since no one was living there to notice people climbing on the rooftop at night. That tells you all you need to know about this company. They are criminals, willing to resort to vandalism to scare up business. Stay away from them, and if you have an uninhabited house that they are interested in, immediately install security cameras.
Great customer service great work......MR COLTON great is very knowledgeable and help me great a great roof
I was weary of using this company when I read the Online reviews. But the sales person I meet seemed very honest and helpful and answered all of the questions I have. Not to mention that I know insurance companies make everything a huge pain in the $@&. So I went with them based on the size of the company and time they have been doing this. Boy was I happy I did, my house looks better then ever, they didn't let the insurance company push me or them around and now they have done tons of people on my block and it hasn't looked better in years.I have and will continue to refer them to anyone that needs help.
I was weary of any one that does storm work. But working with American Dream home Improvement was pretty easy. I have sent them to many family members house and all has came out great. Thanks a ton American Dream home Improvement.
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.