My wife and I were a victim of Lifestyle Pools, whom we contracted with in April of 2012 to build a custom 36 x 24 swimming pool. The estimated completion time was 8 to 10 weeks (weather permitting). Almost 12 weeks after we signed our contract, we began to realize that Lifestyle Pools was an unscrupulous company that had no intention of completing our pool. Although we had seen signs of deceitfulness, up until this point, we were still hopeful that Lifestyle Pools would honor our contract. At this time, Lifestyle Pools was forced to shut down for the first time by the government due to tax evasion. Although they still promised to complete our pool, we had very little faith that they would, which proved to be justified as they never finished our pool and went out of business a few weeks later. Lifestyle Pools had over 90% of our money, but only completed 60% of the work. In short, we were swindled out of money that we had put forward in good faith and left with a mess in our back yard. At this point our faith in pool companies was VERY low. After realizing Lifestyle would never finish our pool we talked with numerous pool companies. Most of these companies wanted no part of cleaning up after Lifestyle Pools and quoted outrageous amounts to finish the pool. Having limited funds, due to being conned out of a large chunk of money, we almost gave up on finding someone willing to quote us a fair price. Kelly from StarLite Pools came to our rescue. He quoted us a fair estimate and seemed willing to work with us. My wife and I both agreed that he was the right man for the job. Within two weeks of signing a contract with StarLite Pools they plastered the pool, tested the pluming and installed all of the pool equipment. Kelly was professional and responsive, making the final completion of our pool a great experience. Our only regret is that we didn’t hire StarLite Pools from the beginning. We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Kelly from StarLite Pools for helping us out in a very trying time and making our dream come true. We want everyone to know that StarLite Pools is a company that you can TRUST. If you want a to build a beautiful pool with a company that will stand by their commitments, hire StarLite Pools. You will thank us for recommending them. Dave & Renee Kirby - Oklahoma City
8498 NW ExpresswayOklahoma City, OK 73162
From Business: *Visit Our New Olathe Superstore*KC's Leader with the Largest Display of Outdoor Furniture*Kansas City's Largest Spa Outlet*100,000 Sq. Ft. OF FUN!*Best Selection…
618 Crescent CirOklahoma City, OK 73110
From Business: Swimming Pools, Automatic Irrigation Systems, Wood Decks, Waterfalls & Fountains, Underground Drainage Systems, Concrete or Rock/Flagstone Sidewalks, Patios, Driv…
started using them after a horrible experience with a one man operator. mistake. he put in a heater that leaked water 7 months later and pentair would not warrant it as they said they only leak if water chemistry is wrong. errrrr. so called these guys. 8 months later they are real pros. honor commitments. put in a new heater that cost the same as the R2D2 pentair. wow. they keep records and can see your pool history... ok, yeah it is going to cost you some, but it beats buying a new heater, pump, etc.,. i trust these people. my raypac makes NO noise as it heats.
I have used these guys for years and always found them to be top notch and very considerate of cost versus quality. They have always delivered exactly what they said they would and when they said they would. I have had everything from my house roof replaced to a 38000 SF office roof. They even did a remodel recently on my house that is amazing. Some people like to bash people on these review sites to get what they want. II'm in retail and I know you can't make everyone happy, but these guys have my vote. Call Bryan at Forty Creek. You'll be glad you did.
This compamy is great to work with on construction projects. We have teamed with them on multiple occasions. They require a lot of paper work but we have never had a problem with payment as long as we got it turned in. Their staff are very professional and quality driven. They do make you adhere to the schedule which is good and bad as a sub. I would work with them on any project!
AquaCraft is awesome! Amazing attention to detail, beautiful layouts and design. Micah is just great...he cares about every detail even after completion. Just great customer service, planning and execution. I would recommend him and his company highly to anyone looking to build a beautiful, high-quality, cost-effective pool!
This company did a great job on my pool. My husband and I were so impressed how Russ, the owner, did at least 80% of the work himself. We do not have one complaint because everything was so nicely done (high quality). HIGHLY RECOMMEND - one of the most honest and hard working companies we have done business with.
Cheka Company has been taking excellent care of the HVAC system in my building for over 3 years. We have never had anything short of great service from them. I highly recommend this company.
Professinal work completed ahead of schedule. Explained the stain concrete process and what I coulc and could not expect.
Very helpful. Staff was courteous and willing to go out of their way to make sure all my questions were answered.
Thanks Pam from snowpools.llc we appreciate the work hope your happy with new tile an plaster work Snowpools
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:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
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:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
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.
Hiring a General Contractor
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.
Finding general contractors
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.