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.
Family owned and operated. References can be provided to refute any negative statements made. Anyone can post anything on social media whether they were a client or not.
I contacted this company to come out and give me a quotation on installing a fence for around our company. The first time I called and scheduled an appointment. They never showed up for the appointment and I am thinking maybe something came up. The second time I contacted them the lady answered in a gruff tone. I explained that we had scheduled a meeting a couple of weeks ago and the lady I was supposed to meet with did not show up. She said, "they are not interested in doing business with your company." I am wondering how they are in business at all. Do not waste your time trying to work with these people. They are extremely unorganized and unprofessional.
Best pool service in Central Alabama. Drew can balance your pool and keep it balanced. Our pool stays beautiful all the time and the water is perfect. I recommend them highly.
Absolute great service. Drew prides himself on making sure the customer is completely satisfied. We had a leak in our pool and he spent extra days at our home troubleshooting to narrow down where the issue could be coming from. I know the salt pool guy may have had a bad experience but as you can see from the other reviews, this guy is top notch!
Our family has used Great American Swimming Pool for many years now. There is no one else we trust with our "happy place". Drew is a real class act. We have never given a thought to a "stranger" being in our yard as even our fur-baby loves him. We have never had any concerns or issues with our pool. In fact, not only does he offer free chlorine, his suggestions in other areas have saved us tons more. If you want a company that still places a high premium on service and integrity, call Great American Swimming Pool Service. You will not be disappointed.
this company is everything it advertises to be & then some. the chemistry program in practice was learned in california. there is definitely something to it as no pool man has ever made my pool look this good. he is way ahead of anyone in our area in the chemistry dept. we used to have a salt system and all of them were crap. even the high end brand. all they do is make chlorine tablet chlorine and that's it... they still need shocking. they don't work in cold water. they don't like running on timers. my pool guy provides all chlorine in service and i don't ever want some high priced salt system piece of junk ever again. these things have been out for over 4 decades and are nothing new and from my research the salt industry is DEAD on west coast. i flushed over $3500 down the toilet with these crappy systems. just get this guy who is super chlorine smart that he offers it in pool service for free without rasing rates higher than any other pool services standard rates that just include labor pool service only.
WE LOVE THIS POOLGUY! have used all the other long term pool co. around & never used any more than 2 yrs. we are starting our 5th season w/ Great American Swimming Pool Service. this guy is far SMARTER than all the rest we've had combined!!! it's not just how good a pool man can clean a pool, but just how good are they fixing & repairing, how smart are they w/ chemicals & always show up each week? my poolboy NEVER misses a visit no matter how hot, cold or wet the weeks are. we do not cover our pool it stays open all year & in the off season ( cold water ) is when you see just how much this mind works towards making the next sping summer fall even better. he has done things w/ our pool to make it flow better & stronger than ever before, without spending tons of $$$. it amazes me just how he knows about all sorts of things. he told me he owes everything hes learned to his former employers whom he was w/ over 10yrs, locally who have owned their pool buis. over 50 yrs. a very pleasant easy going individual, who is easy to talk to about your pool, who doesn't bill you for EVERY MOVE THEY MAKE in your backyard. we NEVER pay for chlorine, its already included in weekly service. they don't use algaecides either. they always showup in the same timeframe of the same day each week. no pool co has ever done this. we know he loves to surf & desires the tropical sunsets. if this sounds like someone u need then i URGE u to give them a call. we wouldnt trade our sexy leg poolboy for anything. we have owned our pool over 15yrs.
They did awesome work on my kitchen, I appreciate their organization and everything they have done for me over time!
The staff did a great job with swapping the laundry room with a pantry because the pantry was in an awkward space. I couldn't be happier with the work they did.
Our porch extension matches perfectly with the original structure. The workers at Lisenby Construction were all very nice !
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.