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.
2635 James Edmon CtMurfreesboro, TN 37129
From Business: At Cornerstone General Contractor, we focus on quality home improvements over quantity. We use our years of experience and expertise to complete your project with…
2914 Berry Hill DrNashville, TN 37204
From Business: Since 1979, Hantel Kitchens and Baths has been a leader in the remodeling industry offering turn-key services to take your project from design to completion. Our …
399 Haywood LnNashville, TN 37211
Horrible business practice... we were given date after date after date about when the job would be done but they never showed, never called. Gutter…
2710 Old Lebanon Rd Ste 15Nashville, TN 37214
From Business: If you need a job done right, you call in the experts. At Donelson Air Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in Nashville, we?re committed to performing qual…
217 S Cannon AveMurfreesboro, TN 37129
From Business: Pinnacle Building Services was founded in Murfreesboro, TN in 2001. We are a Tennessee licensed contractor specializing in both residential and commercial roof co…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
1.Back in June this year I requested an estimate on replacing 3 large picture windows on the side of my home. An appointment was made for a WW representative to measure and provide the estimate. Measurements were made, and I agreed to the estimate writing a check for $1,252.00 as initial payment.2. After waiting nearly 2 months, I was informed our new windows had arrived, and the installation was subsequently scheduled for 8/16. However, when the installer arrived that date, it seems the windows had been incorrectly measured and would not fit. This is unacceptable.3.The windows were remeasured and the order was submitted a second time.4.We waited again from 8/16 until October for the second set of windows to arrive. The 2nd installation was scheduled well in advance, and I was told the installers would arrive between 8 – 9am, Mon, Oct 2. However, the contracted installer, called that morning circa 8:30 to inform me he had been handed the job by one “Eddie” and that he had more than one stop before he could get to me offering no definitive ETA. This is unacceptable. 5.The installers finally arrived (quite late, of course) and proceeded with their work. We began inspecting their apparently completed work inside as they proceeded to finish-up outside. I was surprised and dismayed to discover that the placement of the windows had precluded our ability to reinstall our Hunter Douglas shades / blinds. I was never informed that we would not be able to re-use those blinds. This is unacceptable.6.Further, due to the lateness of the day, due in part to the crew’s late arrival, I was unable to remain at home with the installers as they finished their work. My wife had to amend her schedule to be present while they finished and to pay the remaining balance due of $1,252. She noticed that the windows were smeared and smudged – particularly on the outside significantly above ground level where we cannot reach – and she asked if they could please clean the windows since old people like us cannot access them safely. She was told that their job is to install, and that they do not clean windows. This is unacceptable. 7.Further, my wife asked if she could pay them extra to clean the windows, and the installer indicated he would then return on Sunday. In my opinion, this is absolutely unacceptable. We certainly did NOT pay to have filthy new windows installed.8.We were left with two dilemmas to resolve: One was getting our windows properly cleaned, the other relates to the installation of the blinds without which draperies cannot be rehung and the furniture in the largest room in our home cannot be put back in its proper place. My email complaint to Mr. Price of Mid TN Window World resulted in a voice mail from another gentleman indicating that someone would be sent to clean the windows. Who do you think was sent? Yes, the same disgruntled contracted installer who restated upon his return that he does installations and not window cleaning. Upon being told that a second time inside our home as all were looking out through dirty windows, I asked him to please leave. He balked, and I actually had to ask him several times to please leave immediately. I was on the verge of calling the police to have him removed when he finally left. This was one of the most harrowing and unpleasant experiences I have ever personally encountered with a service provider in my 70 years.
Purchased windows and installation from Window Fitters a few years ago. Was told I was getting a lifetime warranty on them bThe first year they would good about replacing ones that had a problem but since then not so good with the lifetime warranty. I have had seals go bad on a couple of them and when I called them they informed that the company that made the windows for them had gone out of business and that they did not have to honor lifetime warranty. If purchasing windows check out who you are dealing with.
CEI is as professional and ethical as they come. They do quality work at a fair price and always exceed expectations
This is a local firm of builders who have deep ties to the community and a solid sense of ethics and design.
After working with another handyman company, I finally called The Wills Company. I was hesitant that about calling them because I've always heard they're the most expensive in town. Well, whoever said that was wrong. It didn't strike me as that expensive, and they were prompt and the work was completed quickly (and correctly). The pricing was very transparent (handyman charges this per hour and this is how many hours they were here). Will definitely be calling Wills Company for future handyman jobs.
Quality residential architects and builders. All their sub-contractors are trustworthy people and do quality work.
We recently had all of the windows in our home replaced by Pella. There were a few bumps along the way, but they worked hard to correct the mistakes and now we have some GREAT looking Windows. The installers did an outstanding job of installing and cleaning up each day. I strongly recommend Pella!
Stay away! Unfortunately I bought one of their previous built houses...Stay away from this company...Their quality is CHEAP...Thy use the cheapest materials, poor wiring, lack of insulation or no insulation-built-ins are the worst quality, cheap exterior doors, balsa wood like material for windows, cheap hvac units, windows...and the list goes on!
I have had work done by this company. They did an adequate job and were friendly. Would use again...
Team Construction is a Nashville leader in utility construction, particularly gas mains and lines. They have done many high profile 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.