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.
3176 Highway 9 ELittle River, SC 29566
From Business: We are a BioGuard and SpaGuard Platinum dealer focused on customer satisfaction. We use BioGuard's exclusive ALEX software for in-depth water analysis. Bring in a…
4718 Highway 17 Byp SMyrtle Beach, SC 29588
Elko Spas are number one when it comes to service and products. They carry the best products for total customer satisfaction. They also are on top o…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
I entered into a contract with Pools Plus of the Carolinas on September 26, 2012 and to date (March 12, 2014) my pool has not been completed and Pools Plus is still holding over $7,000 of my money. Ultimately I had to sue Pools Plus to try and recover my money. I won this court case and Pools Plus was ordered to repay the $7,000 + and as of today I still have not received a dime. I posted a complaint on Angie's which Pools Plus entered a response. Although technically their response is somewhat accurate it does not state the complete facts. For example Pools Plus tried to use Weather Underground as their defense of delays in work in court and the Judge threw it out because it was did not state the actual facts. They tried to claim weather days because on the face of the site it shows a rain day. If you go into the hourly report most of the days that he claimed weather days it rained either pre-dawn or late evening and in one case the date indicated it rained .01 inch. Pre-dawn and late evening hours most people aren't working on a pool anyway. The electrician excuse is just that. His new hire was sent here three times but was not allowed to stay on the job long enough to install/fix the issues. Pools Plus tried to claim that we cancelled the Lanai contract but the string of emails that I submitted as evidence showed just the opposite. I could go on and on pertaining to his response but I think you get the point. BOTTOM LINE; A JURY OF SIX PEOPLE DIDN'T BELIEVE HIM EITHER. Pools Plus has not attempted to make any payments pertaining to the debt owed by court order. The judgment was issued and put in the hands of the Sherriff's Department. He has made several promises to them on a payment plan and has not paid a single payment to date. The last response from the Sherriff's Department to me is that they will not return their calls. In other word if he doesn't honor promises to the Sherriff's Department don't expect him to honor a promise to you. Check out the Horry County Judicial site on the lawsuits filed against Pools Plus. You don't have to take my word for it. The government web site speaks for itself http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/caseSearch/ click on Horry County and type in Pools Plus of the Carolinas. I could go on and on about my personal nightmare with Pools Plus but to keep things simple please don't contract with Pools Plus because I really don't want you to have to experience what I am experiencing.Bottom line even though you take the proper legal action against Pools Plus, Pools Plus will not honor a judgment and your money is gone.
Elko Spas are number one when it comes to service and products. They carry the best products for total customer satisfaction. They also are on top of their game when Customer Service is important. From follow-up phone calls, scheduling, to checking back with their clients long after they are finished with the job, they show how much they care. You will not be disappointed with their knowledge, products and service!
Hot tub ordered for the new house! Summer is quickly coming, Kim with Elko's suggested a service tech come check out the pool - great idea - Love TJ! He was able to pick out my issues right away, explained why my chemicals were off and pointed out other issues that were so very helpful. I will be able to keep my pool and my new hot tub in top shape with the advice and help from the Elko's group, they truly treat you like family!!
Called Tom after four months of attempting to diagnose & repair our hot tub. He arrived early for our appointment & diagnosed the problem within 15 minutes. Repaired the broken wire, completed a systems check,ran the hot tub full cycle, and reset the controls.Outstanding service, professional, courteous. We have referred him to friends and to a real estate mgmt. company.
Bad experience took the money and ran. Not licensed nor insured. Fell into breach of contract with homeowner
I've worked with McDowell on Petco projects where our Speed-Lift is used and everyone there is always great to work with!
Pools Plus is up to their old antics. They installed a pool in the summer of 2016 and did over $1200 in property damage which included $1140 fence damage. After continuing contact the company, and many promises I had to resort to disputing credit card charges to reclaim the money and have the fence repaired, which was successful. Repairs to the house siding which the pool was bounced off of, the replacement of a down spout that was crushed and a roof shingle that was gouged by the pool as it was brought in have been repaired at my expense. There is a crack in the corner of the driveway that has not been repaired even though Pools Plus has agreed to repair the issue. we are still owed deck coating which we filed a small claims suit to recover money to have another company install. Pools Plus called to finally complete the job, I am assuming after being served papers by the court. They came to install the deck coating, but seemed to have suffered an equipment problem and have made a total mess of the deck and the pool water as well. We are going ahead with the small claims case as of the writing of this comment. How they stay in business I will never know. This is just one of many complaints that can be found on the SCNOW news on line. The picture labeled capture is the correct install, the other is the mess Pools Plus made.
What a delight to find a business who still feels the customer comes first. From the minute we walked in and met with Kimberly we knew we had made the right decision to buy from ELKO. Professional sales and better yet, professional delivery and set up. Very happy.
I highly recommend Elko for your next spa purchase or man cave upgrade! Very knowledgeable, best products, and excellent customer service.
Arnold's pools have incredible employees. They have gone above and beyond with everything we've needed. We bought a home with a pool that had been left uncovered and neglected for 5 years. During the cold month if January, they came out multiple times to help us install a new pump and rid our lines of blockage. Then came spring and we found multiple ceramic tiles missing. They were able to locate matching tile which we thought were obsolete. Now a year later, they not only came out within an hour of our call, they replaced a faulty pump and helped us place a warranty claim.I can't stress enough how much we've appreciated their above and beyond service.
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.