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.
3200 Powers AveJacksonville, FL 32207
I recently saw your ad for hiring in the newspaper. I am a retired policeman needing to get back to work. I'm very dependable and loyal. Please cons…
11742 S Main StJacksonville, FL 32207
From Business: Residential & Commercial Roofing. Providing New Roofs, Flat Roofs, Shingle, Modifications, Repairs, Metal and New Construction. All work is guaranteed. Licensed &…
1093 Mcduff Ave NJacksonville, FL 32254
Wayne and his brother are a true asset to Eagerton. They did an exceptional job on repiping my home. He even went as far as squeezing into a small s…
4522 Saint Augustine RdJacksonville, FL 32207
I had contacted several roofing companies when I sustained damage to my roof related to a storm and the two other companies immediately said I neede…
Serving the Jacksonville Area.
Clean shop, nice variety and location.
5403 Oliver St NJacksonville, FL 32211
From Business: James McKenzie founded Southern Home Carpenter and Painting 18 years ago on the premise that painting, carpentry and custom woodwork can be done with superior wor…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Well, the roof looks good, however... They broke the padlock on my fence to my backyard, which I could have opened had I known they needed to get back there. Instead the back gate was just left open for all to get in. They also used my power strips and extension cords that I had my Christmas lights plugged into, and I don't mind that, but they were just thrown up in the yard and left there along with a giant limb that I now have to drag to the side of the road. And to top it off, Directv is now charging me $49 to come repair and replace the satellite dish that is still hanging from the side of my house a week later. I'd say my experience could've been better. Not the things I wanted to deal with at Christmas time.
Roof is fixed and job is great. Workmanship is good and price is right. Great father and son business
Mike and Susan did our entire house in hardwood . The are two of the hardest working people I've come across . Extremely professional and knowledgeable about the craft . They do you what the say and they are very prompt and conscientious . I would highly recommend them to anyone . MIKE, if you ever need a referral you can have people contact me anytime. Love my floor .
Owner was very helpful and courteous. He treated me with respect and helped me through this unfortunate situation.
The apartment complex we live in hired this company to replace the stairs outside. In the process they cut our cable wire. When my husband confronted them on this, the guy was rude and immediately stated he will not pay to fix it but will have one of his guys come by and fix the cable. They never did. A week later while still replacing the stairs, they messed it up again. Yet again my husband talked to them and they said they would fix it and low and behold, did not fix it. They packed up and left. This company is unprofessional, rude and they do not take responsibility for their actions. I would NOT recommend this company to any one.
If I could give them less than a 1 star, I would. They are greedy, unprofessional, and they don't care about their customers.
Mike came out & saw that our concrete slab was not right. It had some serious problems & to lay a new floor on the existing floor would be a disaster. Mike and his wife worked tirelessly for 2 days getting the floor flat. The job turned out great! We are very pleased with the results. He is a pro in all manners. Would recommend him without any hesitation. Thanks again, Mike. Thanks again Mike
Mike was referred to us by a reliable source for hardwood floor installation. He was very prompt in getting back to us and setting up a consultation. He brought several samples based on our phone conversation. We thought his estimate was so fair and reasonable that we didn't even consider getting another estimate after our first meeting. The date to begin the work was set for a time while we were out of town. When the work was completed he texted pictures to us from several angles. We couldn't have been more pleased. When we returned home we expected to find a significant amount of dust (we had ceramic tile removed along with carpeting). Much to our surprise our home was dust free! We had draped all of the curtains, removed artwork, covered light fixtures and electronics. Many friends had shared nightmare stories of dirt, etc. I can honestly say we were shocked at how clean our home was upon returning. I would definitely recommend Mike to anyone considering such a project. Not only was he kind and easy to work with, he was extremely professional. Thank-you Mike!
Great job on floors. Mike is a professional and is very creative as to how he approaches a job. His is of high character and integrity. A great job and a great person.
Bill Silcox knows his stuff. They are detailed oriented and do excellent work. Would highly recommend
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.