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.
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Lots of people claim to be professional however these guys are not. I've read the reviews and I ask myself.... were any of these installs inspected by the city? I know people went cheap when hiring this company but did anyone know this work required a permit and city inspection? This company is a joke to be honest, and does illegal installations which will eventually bite these poor homeowners in the butt. The saying is true... you get what you pay for. Buyers beware.
We never get bad service. If there is any problem, they take care of it. Have used them for 3 years.
The summer of 2014 Wagner heating & air did regular maintenance on my refrigerated air unit and even gave us quotes to upgrade which was $5500-$6000. We thought we'd plan to upgrade this year but weren't in a hurry until the compressor broke on our unit literally 48 hours before the weather was expected to hit 100° for the next three days. Wagner didn't immediately have time available for us when I called so I pleaded for mercy and explained that I have Multiple Sclerosis and my symptoms are triggered by heat and are more severe. Suddenly they seemed happy to make time. As you can imagine I was relieved and even overwhelmingly grateful to them until they showed up and right away gave me quotes that had increased to $8000-$10000. They tried to convince me that the price difference was because the units they originally quoted were different models and were no longer sold. That excuse may have worked except unfortunately for them I had saved all their paperwork of quotes from the previous year. The units quoted last year were exactly the same as the ones they quoted this year. They didn't run out to my home to help someone with special needs instead they rushed out to take advantage me because of the situation. They figured I was desperate and probably couldn't find anyone else available on short notice at the start of summer so naturally they felt free to jack up the price. I made them leave and I called Polar. I actually explained to Bob what had happened and asked for him to come to my home and evaluate the situation. He came out straight away and gave me options. Given the short timeline he said he didn't want me to feel pressured to make a quick and desperate decision so he gave me quotes on an upgrade but also said he could just replace the compressor in a couple of hours. He explained that a compressor would be about $1200 but while it'd save me from the upcoming extreme heat it would also take a big chunk of the savings we had for an upgrade. He promised that a new unit could be installed the next day and gave me far superior quotes than any Wagner had ever given. To me, more importantly he also told me the compressor could be installed almost immediately. He was polar opposite of Wagner, instead of trying to squeeze money out of me he was willing to make less money by fixing the compressor. He saw gow desperate I was but that made him seemed to drive him to do the right thing not fill his pockets with money. He never pushed me to make a decision either way and he didn't try to sell me by offering discounts, his prices were just reasonable. Bob came very early the next day and replaced my unit for less than half of what Wagner wanted to charge. He was very courteous, respectful, personable, even funny and compassionate. He took the time to explain all the tiny print in the manufacturer's warranty and tested the system which worked great. He explained to us that because the internal temperature had risen above 85° the lines might freeze but made it clear that if that happened he'd be here as soon as possible to fix the problem. I was so impressed with his integrity that I jokingly asked him if he worked on cars too. When you're a home owner you should have a good plumber, a heating and air technician and maybe an electrician. I'm so relieved to have found Bob to be my heating and air guy. I can't say enough good things about him or possibly thank him enough.
Yeah. .I was there around 905 pm July 31,2015.. considering he still works with food in a way. . It would be great if the fat guy resembling Gabriel Iglesias aka fluffy. . Could restrain from picking his nose that would be great. Everyone else is awesome
We strive for 100% customer satisfaction if you have any concerns please feel free to contact me directly (owner / Brian Lucero) @ 505-363-4865
I agree with previous post. Very rude people who wont stand by their work. Took time off of work to for an appointment these people had with me which they did not honor, although I think it was a blessing especially after looking at the online reviews. Amazed they have any customers - do not get taken in by this company like I did for my first service that I needed in Rio Rancho.. This incident would have been their second visit to my property - glad in the end that it didn't happen. After paying $500.00 of service the FIRST time, ended up climbing to the roof today to investigate a new problem, found with disgust that their technician obviously didn't have the courtesy to do a simple but important thing which was to ensure the cover was put back on a fuse box that controls power to the unit. Found cover lying on the roof - who knows how much sand and rain got into the box damaging it until I discovered this. And this is a cover that doesn't just fall off, easy to snap and securely latch in place. Indicates to me that job was rushed or else the people doing it not bothered about the job or respectful of the customer of their property. (At best - hoping it was not intentional). I had another company come out and found a world of difference - pleasant, polite, better rates - my unit is quieter and performing much better. Got a bad feeling I got fleeced the first time around. You can do a lot better than Polar Heating & Refrigeration. - Ed ~ Rio Rancho Resident
These guy's are the best! They are very good at interacting with and entertaining a very diverse crowd! When you hire this crew, you've got the best!
I had the same experience with Lance Griffith as many others have. He came out promptly to diagnose the leak, started the job and suddenly stopped. My bathroom was left without running water for 21 days and torn apart, until I called in another plumber. My toilet sat out in my front yard the entire 21 days as I am too small to carry it or move it on my own. (It was a rather embarrassing sight.) His excuse was that he had to deal with Child Support issues in Texas. But during that time I tried, as did my insurance adjuster to contact him many times through phone/text and internet. He'd answer only when he felt he had no other choice as I threatened to hire someone else (which I finally had to do.) I have NEVER had such poor service! I would NEVER recommend him! I am not a mean or hateful person....I've never given anyone a poor review...but to say anything different would just not be right! I will say, that when he wanted to get paid for the little work he did do....he was on time and there at my door when he said he would be! Don't be a victim! BEWARE!
Lance was very efficient and nice at first. He diagnosed the problem and got right to it but never finished the job. I made the mistake and paid him the full amount. Now Lance doesnt return my calls and hasnt finished the job. I have been trying to get a hold of him since July. Obviously he isnt returning to finish I want a refund but he doesnt return my call. I think he bites off more than he can chew. He said he was busy JUST FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED. I will never call or refer him to anyone..
Very unprofessional and rude! I called Bob to take a look at my AC unit and scheduled an afternoon appointment. I leave work early to make the appointment and receive a phone call thirty minutes after our scheduled appointment to be told he already came earlier and would have to come back the next day. So in essence, he came to my house before our scheduled appointment while I was still at work and didn't even call to let me know. Bob even left my AC unit without the cover where the capacitor sits, exposing all the electrical wires.Already feeling like things are unprofessional, I call my home warranty company to find out that the repair is still covered and have another company fix the problem as advised by the warranty company. The other repair company diagnosed the problem and found that Bob's diagnosis was completely wrong. They were even surprised that Bob left the capacitor section uncovered. Regardless, they fixed the problem and everything is working fine.I call Bob to let him know that the repair was still covered under my home warranty so he did not have to come by anymore. He demanded that I pay him the diagnosing fee, which he never even mentioned in our first phone conversation. I counter back saying that I did not think it was right, especially with the fact he came before our scheduled time while I was not home without even calling me to let me know, and that he left my AC unit a mess and possibly prone to more damage. Plus, he didn't even diagnose the problem correctly. After I said this, he said, "Fine, see if you find out that it's not working anymore in a couple of days!" And he hung up on me. I tried calling back multiple times, but he ignored the calls and sent them straight to voicemail. Not only is this service company very rude and unprofessional, I feel slightly threatened because he knows where I live and has no problem coming by my house and messing with my property without even letting me know. I do not recommend this unprofessional business to anyone.
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.