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.
I would just like to say that Dani's Auto Sales is the best dealership I have ever dealt with! I honestly could not believe how well I was treated and how the entire sale was so easy. I had been looking for a vehicle for a few months and was looking for a dealership that wasn't going to waste my time and my money. I made one phone call and spoke with Angel. I told him the car I wanted to look at and what my price range was. I simply went on-line and filled out a simple application. The next day, I was told I could go pick up my car. Angel made sure I had a list of what I needed to bring and never rushed me to get there. I was going to go down Friday night to get it, but was not able to go until Saturday. Angel actually told me that driving into Philly on a Friday night might be a little much and they would be open all day Saturday. He was definitely not like any car salesman I had ever dealt with. I do not like being rushed and he just really made sure he was thinking of me instead of himself. It was one of the hottest days we have had this summer and my husband got delayed, making us late. Not one word was said to us. We were treated as though we had arrived early. The car was everything that was listed on-line and then some! Everyone at the dealership was great! While sitting with Larry to go over the financing, we laughed the entire time! It was so hot that we were sweating in Larry's office. Dani actually brought us in huge slices of watermelon to cool us down some. My son and granddaughter were waiting in the other vehicle and he made sure they got some watermelon too! I think if anyone were looking for a dealership that really thinks of the customer first, they need to check out Dani's Auto Sales! What a great transaction and really great people to deal with.
I just got my bathroom remodeled by Bella, and I continue to enjoy it every single day, as well as my children. The tub is finally big enough for the kids to pretend "swim" in, and we thank Tom for suggesting to go with the bigger tub to suite our family needs. If you are a parent, you know how tough bathtime can be, and ever since the guidance I got from Tom and the project manager, bath time with the kids has been so pleasant. The functionality of my bathroom now is just amazing, I have space in the double vanity we got, I have space in the linen closet we got, I have shower in coves (tiled) for all our shampoos and such (which now the kids cant get to). The workmanship from this company and their carpenters is just impeccable. Any issue we came across, they handled immediately and with perfection. There was just one small issue with tile date arrival (partly my fault for picking special order tile), but Tom was able to get the girls in the office to research and track down my tile so there was absolutely NO delay! I was very impressed with everyones work ethic from start to finish. The finish is great and we are so happy. If you want your bathroom done in a timely manner, with all the great design details and functionality for your family, then contact these guys. I kid you not, it was such a pleasure! Thank you to Tom, Eric, and all the staff at Bella!
It's difficult to find a good contractor- either someone recommends one or you look in the telephone book and take your chances, or nowadays on the internet. I selected Lorenc based on the favorable reviews I had read online. After the latest snowstorm I had water leaking down through the roof and through my kitchen ceiling and into the basement. Lorenc came out fully prepared to go up on my 3rd story roof and he did. He was able to tell me what the problem was and what was needed to correct it. This is a very knowledgeable man when it comes to houses and construction. Lorenc and his team of workers were true gentleman and respectful of us and our property. They were careful to cover things with plastic, laid tarps on the floor because of the snow and ice, cleaned up after each phase of the job. The roof and gutter system were repaired, interior walls/ceiling were repaired and painted, basement wall- beautiful.As I said- it is difficult to find a good contractor- and I know one when I find him. Lorenc is a gem and I will have him do any construction /renovation work that is needed here in the future. Trust me- this guy is good!
I have never bothered writing a review for anything before but this place deserves one. In fact, they deserve a standing ovation.I have been ripped off by auto shops before so I was very nervous about this place. My car needed emergency repairs and I happened to break down in front of Rich's. They could have completely scammed me (as Jiffy Lube, among many others would have) but instead they gave me a double oil change (only charging me once) and checked everything that needed checking and found that the only issue was the oil. They tried to charge $30 for the cooling agent they added but were very easy going when I said it needed to be $10.The total wound up at $44 after tax. They easily could have scammed me out of a hundred dollars saying my cooling unit had a major leak and needed replacing, my transmission needed to replaced, and they could have charged twice for the oil.Instead they were fantastic and very nice and easy going. They were a little hard to understand at times but when asked to repeat, all was well.This place was fantastic and if I ever randomly break down in the Philly area again, I know where I'm going!!
I am going to start by saying that I am extremely surprised by how fun my car buying experience was at Danis Auto. I waiting for a while until I was approved on my Mercedes and I spent most of the time chatting with the finance guy Chad. It really made the process less stressful for me. Also, on a more serious note, I am shocked to find a dealership that is honest about known problems in cars. Angel actually steered me away from a different Mercedes that was parked in the back of the lot stating that it had "air bag and possible transmission issues." I still wanted to see what kind of deal he would cut me considering the known issues (hey! I had to try!) The owner, Will, actually REFUSED to sell me the car saying that he couldn't in could faith sell a car to anyone unless he knew it was safe! WOW! Is this for real Yup! Go see these guys-they are a diamond in the rough! I love my new Mercedes E-Class! Thanks!! I'm putting this review anywhere i can on the net cause these people deserve it!!
I'm back again! Although this is my first time leaving a review for Bella!!! I have had both my kitchen and bathroom remodeled by Tom and Bella Brothers. I have nothing but great things to say about this company. I was so happy I decided to call Bella, the girls are so sweet in the office and very accommodating. Tom was prompt on all his appointments scheduled with me, and kept in touch throughout all my remodels (both kitchen and bathroom renovations). I was really scared I was going to be out of the loop and not understand what was going on during construction, but the men were so nice to explain things to me, and their processes. I'm sure I was a pain, but they never showed it on their faces :) I chose to have Bella remodel my bathroom after my kitchen because of their diligence while working on my kitchen. I couldnt imagine a better company to tackle such big jobs for me. so thank you again guys and look forward to that basement renovations we've been discussing! Sincerely,Melisssa!!!
I went to so many car lots looking for the right car and someone that would finance me for what I was needed. I spent hours and hours in diffrent dealers and everyone was rude and wouldnt listen to what I needed and only wanted to sell me vehicles that would put the most money in their pockets. I know my credit wasnt the best to be dictating what I was asking for but I do have a family of 6 and needed somehting reliable that would last for a few years. At Autopros everyone was understanding and more than a pleasure to work with. They made the process so easy too!!! I was in and out withing just 2 hours!!! Compared to many other dealers which were 6-7 hour long process. I ended up buying a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, which fit my family comfortably, Provided me with service records and a accident free car fax :) best of all the van only had 37k miles on it!!! I plan on keeping this car untill it is paid off and then comming back and trading it in for something even better!!!!!
I am graduate student with a limited budget and a family. I went to Ameri Motors and told the owner that I only had so much money to buy a minivan and can he find me something for that price. Moreover, I wanted foreign car, in particular a Nissan Quest only 2005 and up. Although the dealership mostly deals with high end cars, the owner searched in the auctions for me for several weeks until he found me a 2007 Nissan Quest for the price that I stipulated which was much cheaper than really it could have sold for in the market. This was even better then I had hoped for since I only expected to get a 2005 Quest for the price I stipulated. I was very happy with the service I received from them. They were kind and very considerate of my situation and did all they could to meet my needs. They even processed the paper work for the title on the new car and lost title for my previous car so I can sell it. Any one looking for used cars, I highly recommend this place.
We called the company out for an additional bedroom we wanted to build. The man that came over, Ken, was not looking at my old space but envisioning the finished room. He knew exactly what needed to be done in every part of the floor it's on and spent time answering any questions we had. He never made us feel like we were bothersome with our inexperience and many questions about colors and closets and electricity. The job was done from beginning to end with every specification nothing less than perfection! Ken and Mr. Contractor is not just a construction, painting, slapping together a room type of business. At. All! Ken is an artist in his own right seeing beauty and potential where there are old spaces in need of renewal. Thank you for everything Mr. Contractor! Especially the way you treated our family. You're a class act a all the way! 5 STARS!
Paid almost 8400 to walk off with the car we loved. We told them the oil change was on in which he said it was fine but it'd be recommended to change it once we got home. Ok, fine. During the process of the paperwork we assumed the inspection would be done. Once being rushed through the paperwork, it's time to go. No inspection once we were already on the highway back home. I contacted the sales man who started his reply with "well duh". Not even an option to reimburse me. So 80$ oil change and 60$ inspection after putting 8400 down. Car is great, service was great. I was just uneasy on the money I had to spend to finish being legal AND keeping the car in top shape. I would recommend once everything is done to ofcourse give the car another drive and inspect for yourself. Because once all is said and done, "it isn't their problem anymore."
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.