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.
From Business: Many companies claim that they are factory direct, but Champion actually has its own factories! We handle your home improvement investment from design to warranty…
2951 Northern Cross Blvd Ste 249Fort Worth, TX 76137
From Business: There's never been a better time to transform you home with Champion of Ft. Worth! Think of us as a one-stop shop for everything you need to beautify your home's exterior: windows, sunrooms, siding, roofing and doors. Only Champion offers the superior energy efficiency of Comfort 365 Windows, industry-leading limited lifet…
1410 Summit Ave Ste 1Plano, TX 75074
From Business: Products Include: Garage Doors, Garage Door Openers, Garage Door Remotes, Service Parts, Gate Motors, Iron Gates, Iron Fencing, Wood Gates, Wood Fencing, New parts, and MUCH MORE, Plano Garage Door & Opener has been around since 1977, proudly servicing the Plano and Dallas Metroplex area for over 30 years. We are a member …
303 Vance Jackson RdSan Antonio, TX 78201
If you want glass or supplies go to Cavallini! I have used them for 15 years. The sales manager Carlos has saved me many times with his advice. God Bess you in the New Year!
9525 White Rock TrlDallas, TX 75238
From Business: We offer honest and professional sales and the highest quality products and service for all of your residential and commercialgarage door and residential operator needs. From its humble beginnings on Yale Blvd to its present location on White Rock Trail, Hollywood Overhead Door Co. has been family-owned and operated for ov…
1258 W Arkansas Ln Ste EArlington, TX 76013
From Business: Metroplex Exit Doors, Inc. was established in 1996 and incorporated in 1998. The key people involved with our organization have over 30 years of combined experience in the hollow metal and store-front door industry. We offer hollow metal doors and frames, aluminum store-front doors and frames, and P-lam wood doors for inst…
327 N Greenville AveRichardson, TX 75081
From Business: We are family owned and operated since 1957. Based in Richardson, Texas, we have been providing professional top quality glass, window, mirror, and screen services to the Dallas Metroplex and surrounding areas for over 50 years. We offer window and glass cut while you wait, non-glare glass, and luxury heavy shower doors. C…
124 E Arapaho RdRichardson, TX 75081
This place is THE BEST. We recently purchased a home with an unfinished patio and knew we wanted to tile it. After lots of research and visiting several other stores, we stumbled across Seconds & Surplus. They have not only the best prices but a huge selection. Sharon Kellerhouse was extremely h…
909 Regal RowDallas, TX 75247
I was so surprized to find a store where people actually still say hello and help me find the things I need!The staff at the Regal Row Seconds and Surplus seem to enjoy doing what they do. I went in on a Saturday with my husband and two small kids (never a fun shopping trip) and we were greeted …
1084 W Jackson RdCarrollton, TX 75006
From Business: Founded in 1985, DAIco Supply Company is one of the leading suppliers of building materials and services to the construction industry. It has been in operation for more than 10 years and has an over 10,000-square-foot warehousing facility. The company provides a range of products that includes doors, frames, ceiling grids,…
307 S Mcdonald St Ste 600Mckinney, TX 75069
Handyman crew was very professional, punctual and very qualified. Job was flawless and customer service pre, during and post work is excellent. We have been using handyman for doing some tiles wor accent wall. Kevin was excellent and very meticulous. We highly recommend using Kevin if anyone nee…
2650 King Rd Ste 800Frisco, TX 75034
From Business: ATX Windows and Doors is your local custom window and door company here in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and the surrounding areas. We've helped homeowners throughout the area increase beauty, lower their energy bills and gain comfort all year long with our custom windows and doors. We have a variety of materials, styles a…
7044 Lebanon RdFrisco, TX 75034
DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY: The quality of the work was extremely poor. When installing, he rushed through the job. He tore up some plants, and ruined a specialty painted wall that will be very difficult to repair. He won't return phone calls. The door leaks really bad. He finally called back…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
I can't speak to the actual quality of their work. However, I can speak about the mess they left on the curb. Rather than hauling off all the tile flooring they pulled up in my neighbor's kitchen, they boxed it up and left it on the curb. When we initially asked when they planned to haul off the boxes of broken tile, we were told Monday. That meant the trash would be there for four days. There were probably 12 boxes full of broken tile. Even the sprinkler cycled on, the boxes began to fall apart. Come Monday, the boxes were still there. Tuesday, I called Nick and asked again when the trash would be picked up. I was told when they finished the job. We both got a little testy. After that conversation, I proceeded to call the city. The trash was gone the next day. As a neighbor, I didn't appreciate looking at the boxes of broken tile along my driveway. I also entertained Saturday night; the mess was embarrassing. My neighbors have been out of town during the remodel. I don't think they would have been okay with the trash on the curb for almost a week either....
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.