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.
Refused to come back to my home to correct improper installation of my gutter downspout unless I paid them an additional fee. It was impossible to talk to anyone personally, just kept getting voicemail. No customer service.
Marty was working at our neighbors, we asked him for a quote on baseboards and installing a pocket door after damage from Irma. His Quote was very fair and he found a window in his schedule to do the work. He did such a great job that we also asked him to update our doors. He was always on time clean and professional, we definitely recommend him and would give him 10 stars, but the website only allows 5!
Gary was contracted to build a house in 2015 for my daughter. He stole $60,000 from her. She worked many years to save for this home. He has not paid her back a single cent. It has been over a year. Gary should be behind bars for what he has done to my daughter and her children. She is a young woman who worked very hard and he thought nothing of walking away with her money. He continues to live his life in Naples with no regard to what he has done to her and her family. This man should not be allowed to even build a doghouse. Please beware do not give him any money.Alissa S.
I chose Gary Billmyre to build a house for me and my two young children. Please keep in mind that I am a single working mother, and have my children 95% of the time. I do not have money to throw around. I entered into a contract with Gary 24 months ago, with the hopes of having my home built in a timely manner. Every time I contacted Gary, he would tell me that he was going to have everything done by Jan 2016. I had given him $60k for the deposit. I keep myself on a strict budget, making sure I have enough savings for the future of my two children and myself. I wanted part of my future to include the home I was wanting to built for my children and myself. He has done nothing and not returned my money. The amount of money I gave Gary, out of good faith, is now gone. The man who was supposed to build my home, has stolen $60k of my money. I am not naive or incognizant in the slightest way. Gary Billmyre is an opportunist and a thief.
Are very greedy hire unexperienced workers at minimum wage to do jobs they cant handle also dale is not a contractor dont trust him
Terrible experience. John's quality of work was very poor. We have to pay someone else to redo the work he did. He hires unqualified subs and tells half truths about work completed. He is not a reputable contractor.
Do not do business with this person Bradford "Brad" Alan Morse. He is not licensed or insured while representing himself as a licensed & insured contractor. There are numerous victims in his path that he has stolen from while promising to produce what they were paying him for. The excuses of delays are always very dramatic and far fetched, ie: mold in his house, moving his family, etc. There are numerous complaints with many governing agencies and several criminal reports filed on him to include elderly abuse. Google his name and the first to pop up is a few Rip Off Reports. DBPR has issued 2 cease & desist orders on him. Very long rap sheet on Collier Clerk Public Inquiry. Always check the credentials of any contractor you may consider hiring with local contractor licensing office, sunbiz.org and myfloridalicense.com. Also, ask for proof of general liability & workman's comp and call to verify their policies are current. Ensure the business name & license # on any marketing material, documents, etc. are consistent - this is the law of all valid contractors. Never pay cash & never write checks to anybody except licensed business. If the qualifier is different than who you are dealing with, demand to meet the qualifier. Protect yourself from thieves like this!
Gary took $40 thousand dollar deposit and did NO WORK and disappeared. I have taken legal action but you better beware of this guy.
Wow, what a gorgeous remodel and place to relax or have fun. Enjoyed the dining room and spa, but forget the service or lack of service at the Tiki Bar including pool side services. Unfortunately, the Tiki Bar hours are very limited. They could do twice the business if they were only open and made the guests feel welcome.
Our experience with MDB Contracting exceeding our expectations relative to quality, performance and communication. When we renovated our condominium in Naples, we were concerned that the competency of the local contractors would not be up to the standards we had worked with up north. MDB quickly put us at ease with their in depth understanding of our goals for the renovation. Would use them again and have recommended them to others.
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.