What Should I Do When My Car Dies on the Road? »
Four tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe while you wait.
I got my car radiator fixed at Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting and I have to say the service was great and the price was right. The turn arou…
150 W Park StLee, MA 01238
Lowest hourly rate around, good service, friendly employees
174 South StPittsfield, MA 01201
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From Business: Firestone Complete Auto Care is a full-service auto maintenance and repair shop offering a large and affordable selection of tires, convenient hours & locations f…
799 Tyler StPittsfield, MA 01201
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From Business: Do you have auto glass damage? For windshield, window or back glass repair and replacement in the Pittsfield area, turn to Safelite AutoGlass. Those in Pittsfield…
Four tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safe while you wait.
When a car is damaged by an accident or weather, what can be repaired and what must be replaced? Or is it time to buy a new car?
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
I brought my yukon denali into this place because i thought they were good..my $50,000 truck is now ruiened the front end is jumping very hard when i go over 65 or up a hill the idal is now extremly high .i called them and brought my truck back they said they dont see a problem on there screen and that my trany fluid was yucky when they supposedly drained it..the night before i beought ny truck in there i drove to palmer and back and my truck was NOT AT ALL jumping....these people broke my very expensive family truck and turned a blind eye to what they did...they charged $417 for oil change brake inspection and transmission fluid service..they called me saying a gasket broke i had to wait an extra day mind you they broke the gasget nit me...im so disgusted and now iur truck is ruiened and unsafe tp drive...do not go to this bussiness..
100% the most unprofessional person and place I have ever spoken to. Would not recommend to anyone...
After 2 paint jobs on my brand new Audi I will never do business with this company again. Even the second paint job didn't come out correct. Also when I went back service personnel was very rude. I wrote a huge review but it wouldn't let me have it that big. JUST DONT GO HERE! do yourself a favor
If your a female don't bother with this place. I was just told that there's no way to do a wheel bearing that is a press in without the press, I've been doing it without a press for years. Then to be told that the bearing won't last more than 6 months doing it that way, they last the normal length of time a couple years plus and I deliver the Eagle so my car gets a beating daily. Clearly very sexiest here and exaggerates about how hard the work is. Being involved in mechanics my whole life I know what I'm talking about, he just talked down to me and treated me as if I know nothing because I am a female.
Berkshire County Auto Repair & Sales Is one of the best places I have been to have my vehicle repaired. Very Fair prices & fast quality work.I wouldn't go anywhere else for my work.I refer everyone I know down there. Nothing but good things to say.
A nice family owned business that does superior collision and paint work. If you want your car to look the best, this is the shop you want repairing it. Pat and his staff do the best work in Western Mass, hands down.
I have had the best service at Berkshire County Auto Repair. My car is always taken care of in a timely fashion - even quicker than I usually expect! The work performed on my car is always top notch. I highly recommend this fine business for all your car repairs and needs. Thank you Todd for always taking great care of my vehicle. Rebecca
Get it in writing. Final cost is likely to jump.
Having went to 3 different Saab shops for opinions trying to save my wife's pristine 9-5 (6 cylinder) I received 3 different opinions. There are no more actual Saab dealerships anymore. So finding a trusted mechanic is tantamount to me before I allow anyone to work on my two Saabs. The issue with the 6 cyl Issue was that the car was blowing white smoke. The first guy said it is the turbo charger (but that was a guess that could have cost me $2500 and then if still smoking I'd need a head gasket anyway) My experience was white smoke was more often a possible head gasket. 2nd repair shop (25 years repairing Saabs) said it was definitely a head gasket and since its a 6 cylinder, he said it's not worth fixing as it alreDy had 124k on it. The best he could offer was to put a used motor (with even higher mileage) in it from a junkyard for $3500 or he suggested I "junk the car"!Then "John Fiorini" the owner of Performance Automotive in Pittsfield, MA was recommended to me by my local Saab mechanic who has been taking car of both my Saabs for years. He did not want to undertake a head gasket job since it would tie up his one man shop. He said John has the experience, the trained mechanics and equipment to do the job right.I had never been to John's shop before. To do the job right, in the end, John actually had to replace both the head gasket and the turbo. Reason being was that his only concern in the end was to have me satisfied. And he did it at a cost that in my 45 years of dealing with car dealerships, has never happened to me before.We bought this 2000 Saab 9-5 off a 3 year lease with 63,000 miles. After leaving John's shop 2 months ago and after owning this car for 13 years, we have never realized how much power this car was actually capable of. It's remarkable how smooth this engine runs now. Im so satisfied with the work that John did that I'm bringing my other Saab, the 2001 9-5 4 cyl to him in March. I'm having him pull the engine out and replace an oil seal thats been leaking for 5 years, because I never trusted anyone before to do any major engine work to it.Disclaimer: I am no relation to John . . . Paul Stone, Albany, NY
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.