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.
Serving the Lithonia Area.
From Business: Sears Home Improvements is your trusted, long term partner. We’ve been helping customers improve their homes for over 125 years and we back our work with strong w…
2876 Woodruff Dr SESmyrna, GA 30080
Excellent customer service. I would recommend this company to all my family and friends. Jeff is very pleasant to work with and gave me suggestions …
3700 Dekalb Technology PkwyAtlanta, GA 30340
Schedule Your Free In-Home ConsultationSchedule A Consultation Today
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…
4048 Lawrenceville HwyTucker, GA 30084
My kitchen looks brand new!! My tired oak cabinets are now cream colored with glazing, new hardware and hidden hinges. The kitchen is amazing. Terry…
1072 Stovall Ridge CtLawrenceville, GA 30043
Excellent management - Carpenter for attention to detail and pride in work. I would use them again in a heartbeat and recommend highly without reser…
11003 Wesley Providence PkwyLithonia, GA 30038
From Business: Full service Remodeling and Design Company, specializing in Kitchen and Bath Remodels. Licensed and Insured for both Residential and Commercial construction|Year …
Serving the Lithonia Area.
I had a great experience with the sales rep Aaron and his manager Chris. They are some of the best customer service agents I have ever dealt with. I…
2142 Memorial Dr SEAtlanta, GA 30317
From Business: Serving the Atlanta Metro Area since 1985. No Job is too small. References available. Working with remodelers and interior designers. Featuring dust-free sanding.…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
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I purchased a hot water heater with installation & hall away from Sears and they said that someone should be contacting/calling me within 24 hours to schedule the installation. No phone call. So I decide to call the number listed on my receipt of purchase and I'm on a call with someone who can not tell me anything except that they do not have any other their 3rd party installers to accept the job of installation for the area. If your 3rd party installers don't want the jobs within the area, then don't offer installations for the area so customers can make a different decision. The manager of the installation department now says that the installer did not accept the installation because SEARS under charged the permit amount by $3. REALLY? $3? They had to cancel the order and my money($1,125) that was charged to my credit card wont be available for 7 or more business days. Today is Friday. So I'm lookin at, at least 2 weeks before my funds are returned to me to purchase a new hot water heater. Which means I have to go another 2 weeks w/o HOT WATER!!!!!
Absolutely very pleased with job. My Hood and team installed my front entry door with frame and lock and its absolutely beautiful. It looks just like the picture of the display on the home depot site.
Mr Cecil is an excellent contractor. I found him online on a Saturday after my previous contractor bailed on me. Mr Cecil came over that same day, gave me an estimate and was there to do the remaining work on Tuesday. He is my permanent contractor. Such a delightful man.
I had several instances where Jeff said he was going to show up to do work but did not. very unprofessional to lie to customers.
The Owner (Oscar ) came out and gave me a free estimate. We scheduled a Thursday and Friday and he never showed and didn't answer my call. I told him if he had to cancel for any reason to let me know because I took off from work to wait on them. Finally Friday night he called and said that he had a lot going on. I told him that I had taken off work to wait on him and he said " I don't know what to tell you.
Great Contractor. My husband & I Are very please with all the work he does. Cecil remodel our deck,install hardwood,remodelbathroom & kitchen
Cecil Davis handled a floor project for me as I was prepping my home to list it on the real estate market. I had a cramped timeline but he graciously and willingly arranged his schedule to try and help meet the deadline. Cecil is trustworthy, diligent and very prompt. He is passionate and meticulous about his work and he takes pride in it. He's not happy until the customer is completely satisfied.
Professional, trustworthy, reliable, excellent workmanship, and exceptional customer service. I will use Cecil Davis Contractors for all of my household repairs and upgrades.
Review by Paul H. in Snellville, GAProject: Build or Replace a Deck or Non-Masonry PorchQuincy Remodeling did an excellent job building my screened porch. The workers were on time, did a great job cleaning up after the work was done. No complaints. Highly recommended
Honest, trustworthy, and affordable.Best electrician in the business....
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.