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.
1542 S 1st StLincoln, NE 68502
From Business: Stephens & Smith Construction is 100-percent employee owned, which means every project gets the full attention of a company owner. The company provides concrete a…
4747 Pioneers Blvd Ste 10bLincoln, NE 68506
From Business: Established in 1982, Skyline Roofing, Building Restoration and Construction is a company that upholds extremely high standards, providing you with the best servic…
1012 County Road MMead, NE 68041
From Business: Scott Subbedrt, Owner and operator. 20 years experience, Service & Repair. Well Drilling, Pumping, Submersible Pumps, Backhoe, Trenching, Perk Test, Laterals, Geo…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Normally have had a great experience. Called the company for a minor repair on support pillars; said he was about to go on vacation and set a time to come out over two weeks later. On-site it was mentioned that it was a structural thing that he personally would repair within two months. Three weeks later with no estimate received, I called the company for an update. Got a call that they were "too busy" for a minor job right now, even though it was communicated they were the only company we contacted (and were happy to wait 6 weeks for a response from) and have spent a large sum of money with in the past. I understand now is a busy time for their industry, however the lack of communication over the 6 weeks where we could have been getting other estimates is not excusable, especially after our family has spent fairly large amounts of money in remodels in the past.
JT&K Services, Inc. ("JT&K") submitted an invoice to us which included the purchase of a water heater. The price of this water heater was inadvertently paid twice by us, once as part of the larger invoice from JT&K and once as a stand alone credit card payment. We alerted JT&K to this overpayment in June of last year. At that time JT&K acknowledged the error and stated that a refund had been sent or would be sent. We never received a refund and have followed up numerous times over the past six months by telephone and email in an attempt to resolve this matter, but have been unsuccessful. JT&K now refuses to speak with us and actually hangs up on us when we call. We were a regular customer for nearly 4 years but now they are completely unresponsive and rude to us. We are a small non-profit and just want our duplicate payment back.
Overall we are very pleased. We were told 2 days to do the project, but it took 3 because of an unforeseen issue. They took care of the problem for FREE! So Zero complaints here. We love the look and feel of our new bathroom!
Best plumbing company in town! I had a grocery list of things that needed fixed since my husband died and they took care of it all and I didn't have to take a loan out from the bank to pay them! I will never call the plumbing companies that advertise on the radio all the time again! JT&K Services and their staff is awesome!
Great service. Quick to get me scheduled, here on time and confident in their work. Completed the job fast with very reasonable pricing. Our new go-to guys for all our handy man needs for sure. Wish we found them sooner, they could have saved us at lot of headaches from previous companies that we have used.
These guy do a great job and do not charge an arm and a leg
H hired them to remove the wallpaper from my living and dining rooms. I cannot recommend these guys enough! From the initial phone call, to the owner coming out to estimate and book the job to the actual job. Everyone connected with this company was courteous, prompt and professional. They did what they said they were going to do, and they did it on time. What more could one ask for? I HATE removing wallpaper, it's a tedious, labor intensive, messy task. Imagine my surprise when he told me during the estimate that they could get the job done in one day! And they did! I did move the furniture away from the walls for him, but there was one piece I could not move - and they very kindly took care of that even though it wasn't in the scope of their work. When I arrived home last night they were done. The only sign that they were ever there is the missing wallpaper and a discreet trash sack near the garage door (as the trash can wasn't accessible to them when they finished). The place was clean and neat. The walls were completely cleaned of wallpaper. I was thrilled with the job that they did.I highly recommend this company for your wallpaper removal needs.
Jeff eas a very nice man. We are very pleased with the paint job. No messes were left, we will use him again for future jobs!
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.