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've put together a small list to get you started on your journey -- and the first step starts with a single box.
The workers aren't friendly. They are mostly rude and treat people like garbage. The maintenance people don't do their jobs. My roommates and I were constantly putting in work orders and they never would come to fix our problems. The vents caused mold build up in our bathrooms and literally became unbearable. If you leave a voicemail for a manager they never call back or ask one of the receptionists to ask a manager to call you it never happens. The apartments look way better closer towards the office but when you get towards the back it looks awful. The place is unsafe. The so called security guard that is supposed to watch at night. When I called would never answer. Police were called in quite often during the college year because of people fighting and other activities. I'd get woken up by the police or whatever was going on outside. I felt unsafe and if I could go back I wouldn't have ever lived in the crap hole.
Very crooked landlords. Make sure you keep every receipt when you pay monthly rent. They like to throw random charges in your account. Also its a year waiting list to get in (unless your friend or family with the landlords) Then like all rules are different. Completely rude people that should never be allowed to work in an office or with money!!
This man is a Slum lord who prays on the poor. He never fixes anything. I had to fight with him for over 6 months to remove the carpet that had been soaked in raw sewage dew to poor plumbing in the upstairs and then had to threaten to sue him in order to get it fixed. Several reports are on file with the health department due to his violations. You can call them and check. His staff is rude and condescending. Overall highly unprofessional.
I have been living here for almost a year now and honestly, yeah it is cheaper than living in the dorms at Marshall, but at least with the dorm rooms you get better management and service. No free internet, and the only providers you are allowed to have are really crappy. They literally suck. The free cable sucks as well, they give almost no decent channels to watch. The dorm rooms at Marshall U have way better TV than this. The neighbors are trashy and extremely loud. They will play loud music sometimes till 5am, even during midterms and finals. When you ask them nicely to turn down their music, they sneak up to your porch and vomit all over you door. Management is also refusing to clean this up because "we are not a cleaning service." The neighbors got into a fight once and left blood all over the concrete. The management has not cleaned this up either. It is very unsanitary. Take your chances with living in the dorm rooms at Marshall U, yeah it is more expensive, but it is worth it.
This was definitely the worst experience I ever had with housing. To be honest, I think living on campus would be more suffice for the price. For the Village, you pay for something not worth the price, you have to face unbearable management of arrogant individuals full of deceit and an apartment full of shoddy furniture. My entire program at Marshall University all had negative views on the Village and all had terrible experiences and nothing positive to say- so this is definitely more than a handful of previous residents’ opinions. If you see any positive reviews, please be wary because those individuals are the ones who work at the Village as community assistants and/ or relatives/ spouses/ friends of anyone working in the office. They also REFUSE to do a final walk-through with the resident, which they can then charge for any damages they want. So be sure to take pictures after you move out, so in the case they do charge you, you can take them to court and show that they are holding you for fraudulent charges. I hope my in-depth experience will help those unsuspecting parents and residents to stay away from this place. The Village is only a place to come to if you absolutely have no choice and need housing desperately. There are many places near Marshall University that cheaper and have a more honest management team- so try to look into all options before even considering the Village. However, if you do sign a lease here, please be sure to have a lawyer at hand and remember to read the entire lease front to back and make sure you have a copy of your lease for the dates you are living there at hand. The biggest scandal lately with the Village is that you will be charged for months that you are no longer living there and they will turn the guarantors over to collections which is ILLEGAL. If this does happen, please be sure to call the American Campus Communities corporate office in Texas. Honestly, the entire management team at the Village on Sixth should be arrested for their fraudulent schemes.
Dealing with this company has been the most complicated, infuriating experience of my adult life thus far. I subleased for someone in May and moved out August. In that short time period, they lost my first month's rent check, lied repeatedly about it, lost my file, put me in a co-ed apartment which I didn't agree to, failed to collect my room key from the previous tenant which gave her access to my personal space and belongings, failed to change the locks, and failed to issue a mailbox key until the last month I was there. Furthermore, they refused to let me do a walk through with the manager the day I left. When I left, I asked if there was anything I needed to pay, and they said no. Yesterday, I get a letter stating I would be turned over to collections if I didn't pay for charges that included my first month's rent, late fees, and damage charges. This is the most incompetent, poorly ran business I've dealt with.
This man is a complete rip off. He charges outrageous fees for "maintenance", but does not do any of it. He is extremely rude along with his office manager, and discriminates against low income families. I would not recommend renting from this guy.
Run while you can. Seriously. This place has a bunch of crooks running it. I only lived here for a few months because of an internship at Marshall and it was the worst decision EVER!!The place is disgustingly dirty. I've had an issue with spiders ever since I have moved and the problem was not taken care of at all. The staff seems nice and accommodating before you sign the lease but once you're locked in, they couldn't care less about anything you say.Maintenance is a nightmare. They came to fix my dryer and trashed my apartment. My belongings were strewn across the apartment and dirt was tracked around the entire place. They left a DIRTY DUSTPAN on my toaster!!!!! I came home from work to find my apartment an utter mess. There is no privacy. I can hear everything that the people living above me say. It sounds like there are elephants walking around upstairs because there is no insulation. There is no security at all. Good luck if you live on the first floor too because they can bust out windows SO easily. Be careful about cars too because on weekends they are the targets for drunk peoples beer cans and shaving cream. If you are looking to rent DO NOT rent here. You will regret every minute of it just like I did. Please turn away now before you're stuck and can't get out of the lease. I can not express how big of a hell hole this place is.
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!I currently live here but only until August, thankfully! When I first signed my lease this place looked awesome, the staff was polite, the apartment I toured was clean and modern and everything was furnished. When I walked into my apartment a few months later, it was nothing like the one I toured. Nothing was clean, the floors were so dirty that my socks turned black and there was toothpaste with hair in it still on the bathroom sink. My roommate and I had to clean everything before we could unpack, I'm not really sure what they did in that time that old residents move out and new ones move in. Next, the maintenance is terrible. You should expect to wait at least a week before they visit your apartment to fix any problems. When they do come to fix the problem, they leave a mess and sometimes say they can't fix it and they'll come back but they don't. Then there is security, this entire complex does not have any security cameras. In the past couple of months I've had two friends get there cars broken in to and the staff doesn't have any way to catch them because there are no cameras. Then, there is lack of enforcement of the rules. It is nothing for the smell of people smoking (things other than cigarettes) to come through the vents and calling the staff to complain doesn't help, they say they will take care of it but that does not happen. Also, if you aren't into the party scene this isn't the place for you, every weekend night between 1 and 3 am you will get woke up to drunk people partying, it gets quite annoying especially when complaining about noise doesn't do anything.The positives are that they are furnished apartments, and the tanning beds, pool and gym but I'll be cutting these minor losses and living somewhere else in August. I feel this place just wants your money and doesn't really care about there residents. Good luck if you do chose to live here but I would look elsewhere before choosing the Village.
An old stone retaining wall in our backyard was falling down and pushing a support post for our second floor out of place. Needless to say, we urgently needed someone to repair this wall as soon as possible. Charlie Bailey was recommended and we are SO grateful! He came out the same day I called and gave us an estimate for replacing the 22' long, 4' high wall that had originally been built by his grandfather in 1937. The estimate was not cheap, but around here, you get what you pay for! The work was started quickly and professionally and finished within about 3 days. His crew straightened up the landscaping that had been dislodged and cleaned up well enough that I could not tell they had been here. The wall is BEAUTIFUL and still retains the old character of the prior wall because Charlie was able to incorporate many of the old stones. He was as concerned as we were about keeping the character of the wall (which is repeated all around our house and throughout the neighborhood. It is difficult to find people to do quality work around here, but Charlie is one in a million! We highly recommend him and will call him again for any future work!
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.