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.
13030 Player StHouston, TX 77045
We have a pier and beam rental property with foundation issues. I have spent a year to look for a good foundation company with reasonable price. I got at least 10 quotes. The Dura Pier is not the cheapest one, but Mr. Davis is the most professional one. He was the only one really took time to lo…
13016 Player StHouston, TX 77045
From Business: Vulcan Foundation Repair-Full Service Foundation Repair A Trusted Name For Over 30 Years! Lifetime Transferable Warranty Our Family has provided reliable Foundation Repair and House Leveling services in the Houston area since 1978. We repair Slab-on-Grade Foundations, Pier and Beam, and Block and Base, plus offer a wide se…
800 Frontier DrOnalaska, TX 77360
From Business: Our commercial division specializes in City compliance code resolutions. From start to finish. High piled storage compliance's, including State licensed Architectural Plan submissions, Permits, Inspections and all Construction involved. Let us WOW you with our expertise in kitchen and bathroom design, remodeling and renova…
Houston, TX 77073
I had a friend who used MisterSparky and I was impressed that when they knew on the phone that it was an emergency situation that they sent someone straight out. They fixed a breaker for an AC that someone had taken out the breakers and put in copper tube pieces. In the Houston summer to realize…
350 Josh WayLa Porte, TX 77571
From Business: As a premier company specializing in residential and commercial roofing services, we are dedicated to providing customer service that is second to none. Whether you have a new construction project or need to replace an old or damaged roof, we offer roofing repair and replacement services. We will provide you with a full co…
757 N Highway 123 BypSeguin, TX 78155
From Business: Beicker Insealation offers Icynene spray foam insulation in San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, Seguin and surrounding areas; Icynene is green, quiet, healthy, and energy-efficient.Beicker Insulation is a Beicker Building and Remodeling Company in business for over 30 years. Beicker Insulation is an Icynene Licensed Dealer…
607 Durham DrHouston, TX 77007
From Business: In many homes and offices, LIGHT is understood in its functional aspects. Rarely is it understood in terms of its artistic qualities. Lighting is more than utilitarian - it is theater! How an object is illuminated is just as important as what is being focused upon. That is what makes Illuminations Lighting Design unique. W…
7941 Katy FwyHouston, TX 77024
From Business: Please give us a call today and let us know how we can help with all of your roofing needs. Most roofs are completed in three days or less
5606 Rabb Ridge DrRichmond, TX 77469
From Business: *Professional Electrical Service and Repair*Residential, Commercial, and Industrial*Family Owned and Operated*Bonded and Insured*31 Years Experience*Serving Fort Bend County Including Sugarland, Richmond, Rosenberg, Pecan Grove, New Territory, Great Wood, Archer Lake Estates, Katy, Cinco Ranch, and FulshearAMENITYSenior Ci…
1450 Brittmoore RdHouston, TX 77043
From Business: BMC Cabinetry INC. specializes in Cabinets and Countertops for Homes, Hotel, Hospitality, Home Builder and Commercial Industry. We deliver on time - every time. Call us for the Best Pricing & Service.
Serving the Rosenberg Area.
From Business: We Specialize in all you flooring need with over 25 Years Experience in Tile, Carpet, Hardwood floor you name it we'll do it. whether your looking for a quick fix…
1426 Brittmoore RdHouston, TX 77043
From Business: Pedco Roofing Inc. serves the entire Houston metropolitan area. We are a reliable, locally established roofing company that stands behind our work. We offer all types residential and commercial roofing services. Roof repairs and complete reroofs are no problem for our experienced roofing crews.
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
When building your dream house should be the most exciting time of your life, it turned out to be the biggest nightmare! This builder is cheap, rude, and very slow. There were days and sometimes weeks where no one showed up at the job site. Before the build, he agreed to build in a county where it is mandatory for the workmanship to pass Texas Wind and Storm inspections by a structural engineer for the exterior of the home. We hired the engineer the builder recommended, however the builder failed all of his inspections, not once but multiple Times! It turned out that not only did our builder not check the list of standards and supplies that was given to him, but he also seemed to not care. He failed every exterior part, but what stands out the most is our roof. He roofed the entire house not only with poor craftsmanship but also not in the proper Wind and Storm supplies and technique even when the engineer demonstrated how. It would not pass final inspection so he had no choice but to fix it by having the roofer remove the old nails, apply silicone to old holes and apply the correct nails. The builder told us his failures for the Wind and Storm certification were not his problem, and at the end refused to pay for all the extra inpections. My biggest fear came true because we now have a leak as our roof looks like a pin cushion. Needless to say he is being very difficult to deal with now that the house is ours, and I will never recommend him as a builder to anyone! At the end of our build, the builder owed us over $12,000 in unused contingency funds, and unused allowances. He refused to reimburse any of it. We had to get the President of our lending bank involved and tell the builder I would contact a local news company to expose him. Bringing up the news company was the only way to get our money back. This builder is an excellent salesman, and a smooth talker. If you decide to use him, I suggest recording your conversations as he will deny ever telling you anything.
I was very dissapointed in this fella...For more ways than one...He is a one man crew is pretty worthless...
Walter and his crew members do a fantastic job! Quality work and a fair price. You will not be dissapointed. He did outside slate tile work for us and also put a beautiful deck that we designed on the back of our home. He built the deck right to the specs we wanted and it is a solid built deck that is going to last a long time and we will be enjoying for years. If we end up putting a pergola on later; this is the guy/company we will be contacting. Thanks Caskey! Hard working with a great personality too! AEWSOME experience! Heidi and Dale Belsaas
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.