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.
4325 Pleasant Valley RdRaleigh, NC 27612
From Business: Consistently ranked among the top contractors in the country, Barnhill Contracting Company provides general construction, site development and heavy highway const…
3010 Gresham Lake RdRaleigh, NC 27615
From Business: REA Contracting is an asphalt producer that serves several private and public clients. Established in 1937, it is one of the leading highway, paving and bridge co…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Reprimanded and made to pay $2,500 cost recovery by NC Licensing Board for General Contractors. File 16C336.The NC State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating & Fire Sprinkler Contractors put license of owner Keith Hotchkiss on one year probation. File 11460Did work without first applying for legally required permits, did not have work inspected by City of Raleigh Inspections Department. Work did not meet building code requirements. Much of it had to be destroyed and redone, at great expense.
The worst experience i have ever had with this business and the owner Michael!dishonest, hungry for money. would not recommend dealing with guy at all!!
Was really surprised by how poorly I was treated. I found the Blue Sky Services staff to be incredibly rude
Terriblle experience with Upright builders.It takes them 2 - 3 times longer to build a home than most other high end builders.Leaves large equipment parked on streets for weeks at a time putting kids and cars in serious danger. will not move vehicles despite repeated calls to do so. houses sit for months at a time with no construction.
reading the below reviews worried me a little about the homes in the community when we were searching for a new place, but we looked anyways. at first when I read these reviews, I was very worried about the sales people (the first review obviously written by centex, and the rest gave poor marks) my experience with Blair has been exactly what I expected from buying a new home. she knew what she was talking about, and when she didn't she found an answer for us. my only complaint is that there were no wooded lots when we bought, and right after we committed to a lot, they opened some up, not a huge deal. Joey (contractor) is knowledgable, and we would recommend the neighborhood to our friends. amenities are great! wish there were more floor plan options around 3000 sq feet though (only 1)
My wife and I had Blue Sky finish our basement and upstairs remodel. We knew it was going to be a nightmare project from the start for me, my wife and four kids. It started back in September of 2013 meeting with the owner Dave Medvetz and his staff in our home in Wakefield. After many meetings with all parties we choose Dave and Blue Sky quite simply because they soared above every other company and individual we interviewed. We felt as if the project would interfere with our lives for five or so months seeing how we were told that would be the length of the project. The team at Blue Sky had both the basement and the upstairs completed and C0 issued the first week February. We are now settled in to the new spaces and we have just now had time to sit down and commend Blue Sky Services on such a incredible job of quality and craftsmanship. The family and I are most appreciative of Dave and his staff for always being honest and hard working and most of all respectful of my home and family. This was a major undertaking and even though I may of had some doubts about going over budget by many thousands of dollars we now know the reason for having a contingency 15 to 20 percent more budgeted available for the "unknowns" which we now know for the next project. Based on the turnout of our projects we had called Dave and referred our child's school principle who is now having her house majorly renovated by Blue Sky and their Team. My recommendation for everyone is to interview the person and not the price... Hats off to Blue Sky The Choma family
This guy is a joke who lives with his mother in a broke down trailer does nothing but rip you of and drink his entire life. also illegal to work in the united states
The team at Blue Sky Services were awesome! We could not be happier with the remodel. They are by far the BEST remodeling company I have used. They made the process simple and took good care of our home. The final work is better than we could have imagined. They followed through and made it happen. They have a customer for life! Thanks a million.
They did a good job on the work. Our kitchen is upgraded substantially. Our family uses a kitchen a lot and we are looking forward to using it. We are happy that they were able to finish soon than planned. Good price point and good work.
This is going to be a long review. I feel that I should be thorough and give a accurate accounting of how Blue Sky Services did our addition. Living through 4+ months of construction we have to We called them in April to receive an estimate for a couple of new rooms off the back of our home. An estimator called us right away and we scheduled to meeting him about 10 days later. Honestly we would have like to have them come sooner but according to him the schedules did not permit. When he finally came out the meeting was different than the other meetings we had from others. He spent WAY too much time "selling" their services. We were 100% on board with their process and were fairly confident in them based on seeing them around for years. Basically for us it boiled down to price and a gut feeling. Blue Skies passed our gut test. Here is something to consider. We had to pay a decent sum upfront to receive a detailed estimate. This was a bit of a sticking point for us. Their reasoning made sense. Needing to have plans to do our addition. As a consumer we had to ask ourselves if it made sense to spend money when there is a good possibility that the price would make our project cost prohibitive. We had gathered ballparks that seemed extremely low and some that were in the stratosphere.The sporadic ballparks spurred our commitment for a design build estimate. The designers did a fantastic job. No complaints. The lead designer followed through on all facets. Met us at odd hours. Really she is great to work with. We also met one of the owners during the process and he really helped wit the nuts and bolts and actually came up with some nice ideas. All in all they have the design part down pat. NOW the construction. Right from the beginning we felt as though the crews were playing catch up. A week behind then two weeks behind, our confidence waivered seriously. We talked to our p.m. every day and were assured things would pick up. Eventually Jason got the project back on track and "righted the ship". Thank the stars Dimitry and his crew showed up about 2/3 of the way. They were at work early and stayed late just about every day. They were very courteous and CLEAN. The did a great job one the trim and finishing work. A good experience. They exceeded our expectations with some bumps along the way. Our new rooms look great and we are happy. Mary
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.