I first met Nelson back in February, when Rausa Builders was subcontracted by Panda Kitchen to take charge of the total renovation of a kitchen in a condo unit I'd purchased. He immediately struck me as being very knowledgeable...and, practical! Over the months that it took to complete the renovation of the entire unit, Nelson was always available to answer all my questions. He's very hands-on, which is necessary in his line of work. His workers were also courteous and thorough in their work: Nelson and his team went over and beyond the call of duty in assisting me with those things that can come up during the scope of this kind of project. Throughout it all, Nelson remained friendly; patient--extremely patient!--and accessible. Thanks to him I got a great package deal at Lowe's with my appliances! He and his team did neat and precise work...and brought the condo up to code: I am very happy to report that my buyer's inspector found everything in good working order! If I purchase again, I'll be sure to contact Rausa Builders to take care of my renovation needs.
I used this company to paint my mother's house. They were not the cheapest but they kept their promises. They used the organic paint I requested, …
I hired this company to do some work in my condo in Florida. I am from out of state and first time owner of a condo. Of all the contractors I called, Carlos, the owner was the one who told me that I needed City of Miami permit to alter any flooring in the high rise. We signed the construction contract where every detail was noted. I sent him all the paperwork needed including the floorplan. He knew the process and was able to secure the city permit before I landed in Miami. The job was to put in soundproofing, the new marble flooring, paint the condo, and few items. The job went through inspections and the permit got its FINAL status on the last day of the contract. Even though the time was limited the job was done. I would recommend Carlos Montenegro. He is a licensed contractor. (By Su S, California)
I just used this company to complete the stucco on a new home I am building and I am satisfied with the results. Jorge ( the owner) did everything exactly how I asked and the quality of the work was good. My only complaint was the amount of time it took to complete the scratch coat since he only sent 1 worker to do it. However, once the scratch coat was completed, he finished the 5000+ sqft home in a little over a week to my satisfaction. I must admit, that I read the negative review below AFTER I had hired him and naturally, I became very concerned. So to make sure I didn't have any issues, I kept a close eye on his workers and monitored the job as much as I could instead of leaving them alone. Overall, I'm quite happy with the results and I would not hesitate to use him again.
We had a great experience with Rausa Builders building a new eat-in kitchen renovation. Dealt directly with the owner Nelson very knowledgable and patient. Work was done as promised on time. He was very reactive to urgent issues. Rausa has become an invaluable resource for other subsequent projects in our home and businesses (roof repair, painting, screen repairs, electrical work) Also had good experiences with his employees and subs. Owner very proactive, gave helpful advice and suggestions and oversaw work to our satisfication. Very fair pricing considering quality and personal attention given to our relatively small project. Highly recommend.
I would recommend Carlos to anybody who is looking for an honest, hard working professional contractor. He works with you in order for you to get the best price for your project and best quality overall. He meets required deadlines and maintains a good schedule. From the biggest to the smallest detail is always taken care of and is honest about anything else that needs to be done within the job. Very important since this is an area where there are MANY fraudulent, dishonest/scammers who are simply more worried about the money than the job itself. Overall great satisfaction and would hire him again for any future projects
Every major home renovation has its story. We hired RAUSA after wasting 6 months and a lot of money with another contractor. The customer service with RAUSA was beyond superior. The guys at RAUSA were always fair, honest, and a pleasure to work with. They accommodated our schedule, and guided us through the entire process, always looking for unique ways to maximize our budget. We could not be happier with our “new” house – it is beautiful. Save yourself from the proverbial home renovation story. Hire RAUSA, you will not be sorry.
My company sells bank owned homes and in some cases they want to repair the properties before they go up for sale. I work with several contractors and RAUSA builders is the top contractor I recommend. They get things done in the tight timelines that are expected, do quality work, and go the extra mile to resolve unexpected things that come up. I don't have to babysit them and know my properties are going to standout when the work is done allowing for a quick sale at the best price.
I highly recommend RAUSA builders!! I had Kitchen remodeling, 4 bathrooms redone and roof work along with electrical work and everything was perfect. Gabriel was the designer and he was easy to speak to and accommodating. The work was organized and the schedules were met. Lastly I have to add that they were patient in explaining every step of the renovation process and answered every question, even if I asked it several times. Nelson has a great team in place! Thank you!
We hired RAUSA for a major house renovation that had to be completed within 2 months! They were very organized, met us on the weekends to go over everything, assisted us with the shopping of the materials and got the job done on time, so we could move in before Christmas. We had some pending items and plumbing issues after moving in and they came back and fixed those. We would highly recommend Nelson and his team, particularly Gabriel. Thank you!
We Highly recommend RAUSA builders. We recently did a complete condo renovation. Kitchen, new electrical, 2 bathrooms. RAUSA builders was exceptional during the whole process. Professional, attentive, responsive, we would definitely use them again. Nelson and Gabriel were extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and patient. They always answered phone calls and responded in a very timely manner. They are consummate professionals !!
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.