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.
Find out the questions to ask a roofing contractor and what's involved in repairing and replacing your home's roof.
Since solar installations are powered by the sun, they are typically installed on the roof of a home. Below are some facts to cons…
Brandon Bezner is a crook. Do not even think to work with these guys. All he says is a lie. He even doesn't know what construction is. He studied communication and that's why he knows how to lie. Tony is a poppet.
We had hail damage in 2011, which totaled the roof on our house. I called Nathan at Covenant Roofing and was very pleased with his professionalism and the extent that he helped us through the entire claims and installation process. As a very busy physician I needed a company I could trust to honestly and accurately handle it all, leaving me and my family stress and worry free. Nathan also suggested several helpful upgrades and recommended the highest quality materials. The roofing crew were well managed by Nathan during the project, and were very respectful and cleaned up the property when they were finished. They did an excellent job on a very large, complex roof and I highly recommend them to anyone.
Covenant came out after my Insurance Adjustor came out who claimed that there was no damage. I was very surprised to hear my adjustor tell me this considering most of my neighbors were getting their roofs replaced. Covenant came out, marked the hail and organized a re-inspection on my roof. The new adjustor agreed with Covenant that it had enough damage for them to pay for it. Concerning the roof, Covenant recommended that I change the color. This was difficult for us considering we have had the same roof for the last 30-35 years. They installed the Merlot roof and we are very happy with all the color this roof has in it. They also took my screens in to get them repaired. I would recommend Covenant Roofing to anyone looking for a new roof.
I can't thank you enough for the job Covenant Roofing did for us. The service, advice, and help with our insurance company was fantastic from beginning to end. Since I know nothing about roofing and don't have much experience dealing with insurance companies we truly appreciated having an experienced professional walk us through it and explain to us in simple terms what we needed and why. Without you I don't think I would have know or appreciated the importance of installing a hail impact rated roof, and the radiant barrier plywood has drastically reduced the heat in our attic. My wife was particularly pleased with the care your work crew took to insure we suffered no damage to the rest of our house, bushes, and patio equipment. I have heard a lot of stories of destroyed shrubbery by roofing crews but ours was careful and cleaned up meticulously. Thanks for all you help!
"I had leakage in my ceilings as a result of the Labor Day storm last year so I decided that it was about time to bite the bullet and re-roof my house. I responded to a questionnaire I received on the internet regarding roofing services and received responses from about five separate roofing companies; one of them being Covenant Roofing. Consequently, I had a representative from the five companies provide me bids for the project. Two of the bids I considered more credible than the others; again one of them was from Covenant Roofing. Covenant provided not only an estimate on-line but also what they referred to as a "Welcome Pak" that provided information on the manufacturers of the materials that they used and helped explain the various line items of the estimate but also included references and pictures of their completed work. I had a representative of both favorable companies come back to the house to discuss their estimates. It was during this discussion that Nathan told me that in his opinion there was evidence of wind and hail damage on the existing roof. He suggested that I have my homeowner's agent come take a look at it. Before I made arrangements with the insurance company I called the representative of the other company to ask him if he thought that there was evidence of storm damage to the existing roof. He said no. So I made arrangements with the insurance company to send a representative out to examine the roof. Nathan was also present during the inspection to point out the locations that he thought were damaged. At the conclusion of the inspection the inspector announced that he concurred with Nathan and that he would recommend having the insurance company pay for the complete replacement of the roof and gutters. Obviously, Covenant Roofing won the bid.I had to wait a few weeks between the time I signed the contract and the time that the work actually began. This was helpful as it provided time for my wife and I to decide on the color scheme. When work actually began it took the crew about three days to rip off two layer of the existing roofing the existing decking on the south facing half of the roof, replace the decking with an aluminum foil-faced composite board, place a heavy-duty ice and water shield within the valleys and sheds south facing roof, and place Owens Corning Storm shingles. The workers worked long hours beginning early in the morning and completing their work for the day after darkness had fallen. They kept the area fairly clean of debris and extra material during construction, and were careful to clean up the yard area of debris and nails upon completion. Nathan came by as a final check to pull a magnetic roller over the surface and looked for stray nails.The roof looks good, all the shingles are aligned properly. There are no humps or raised areas. I had no leakage this winter as a result of the ice and snow storm in February and March. Al in all I'm very pleased with their work and especially the assistance that Nathan provided with my insurance company. I would recommend their work and services to anyone." Prairie Village
"I had Covenant Roofing come out and take a look at my old wood shake roof for hail damage after many roofers knocked on my door and said that I needed to sign something in order for them to look at my roof. I was uncomfortable with this and then called my insurance agent who then highly recommended Covenant to honestly assess the damage on my roof. I am in my eighties and I wanted to make sure that I could trust the company that was up on my roof. Covenant found damage and even met the adjustor at my house to inspect the roof that next week. The adjustor totalled my wood shake roof and I had told Covenant that I did not want a "flat asphalt roof," I wanted it to look more like wood shake. The asphalt roofs just dont look as good as the old wood shakes. Nathan decided that we should go look at houses around Wichita and offered to drive me around for three hours in my car as I sat in the passenger seat. We saw every type of roof there is and finally decided that the Decra stone coated steel XD panel was what I liked and that it looked more like a wood shake roof than many of the others. I decided to spend more than what my insurance company allowed but I am so happy with my roof and my friends and neighbors are always quick to tell me how much they like it. I absolutely would recommend Covenant and Nathan to anyone looking for a new roof."
Simply the best! Professional, fair, experienced, conscientious
Tony, Gary, Chris and the entire team are good people. They are hard workers and they care about the way customers view them. I appreciate their hard work and would be happy to do business with them again on future projects.Rochette Dahler
On time on budget and great people to work with
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.