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.
4681 College ParkRound Rock, TX 78665
DEATH TRAPAs a patient this is the absolute worst I have seen with aging parents and myself. I came here for wound control and pain management. The pain management is a joke!!!! The nursing staff is busy, cannot give medication on time with the way the schedule was laid out by Dr. Chavez. I had …
103 12th StPflugerville, TX 78660
From Business: Here at Cornerstone Sports Massage and Rehab we work with the client to help them get results that last. Some of the services we offer are Cupping Massage and Therapy, Sports Massage, Rehabilitation, Pain Management.
10415 Morado Circle Suite 110, Building 2Austin, TX 78759
From Business: Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc. NMLS ID # 2258 At Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., you will find a cohesive team of caring, seasoned professionals who are passionately dedicated to making your home-financing transaction a remarkable experience. Established in 1988, Cornerstone is a refreshingly unique national home lender wi…
11500 El Salido PkwyAustin, TX 78750
From Business: We are a community of believers that hold fast to the whole truth of the Bible... from Genesis to Revelation. We celebrate HIS HOLY DAYS and strive to be His Bride! If you are looking for deeper understanding of The Scriptures, join us as we peel off years and layers of men's teachings and traditions. Hope to see you soon!
4207 Burnet RdAustin, TX 78756
My good friend was just sent home from Cornerstone. We were vey happy with the care he recieved there. The staff was busy, but always made time for us. The DON and Administrator visited with him to make sure everything was going ok. If i ever needed to be in a hospital for a long time, I wo…
7000 Bee Caves Rd Suite 200West Lake Hills, TX 78746
From Business: CGA Partners is a full service design and architecture firm based in Austin, TX specializing in custom, luxury single family homes, multifamily homes, commercial, and residential architectural and interior design.
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
RJ REMODELING & FLOORS did a tremendous job on our home. They were very respectful and provided a very professional work ethic. Great job guys !
I found this company to be very accommodating, provide quality work and possess problem solving skills. They did a shower conversion job for clients that were moving from another town. The job, time and cost was arranged and agreed upon. When the closing time got delayed, the owner rearranged work schedules to accommodate this job. Unfortunately the owner was in a pretty bad accident, but still continued with the job loosing only a day. As with any remodeling job, issues came up. He gave excellent options that stayed within budget (he even paid for extra needed tile himself) and did not affect the timeline. Anything that was asked to be done, he willing did. I read the review that I think was addressing this job and do not feel it was fair or correct. Any remodeling job where original work was not done by that company, the next person doesn't know what they will find. This being the case, Sierra Custom Remodeling came thru with flying colors. I will recommend them to even the most discriminating customers as I know this company will be able to handle the job. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your hard work.your attention to details are on spot. Our kitchen looks amazing. We look forward to working with you. On our bathroom project next. Sincerely Kim G
This company has been a nightmare!!We hired them, off the word of a person we knew, mistake...We bought a house in georgetown, and needed a handicap shower installed, it was supposed to be done before we moved in,.. it was not even started that week. We came up 4 days before the move to check the work, this contractor was not there, whenbwe called, he said he was getting supplies and should be there at the house within the hour. He was not, he didn't answer his phone any more after that. The next afternoon, he called and said he had an accident and would send a man saturday, he never shoed, we were told by a neighbor. They didn't show again until monday. We moved up Tuesday, and when we got there to the house,. We had a bathtub with other building materials in the front yard, and the recucle bin setting in the frontroom, on our hardwood floors, full of more building materials!!! ( this can had to be replaced by the way, because it was contaminated due to the building materials) They person that came out,.. never is on time, usually an hour late. They wont give a contract either, we are still waiting!! I believe the good reviews were done by the owners of this company..
Your life will be turned upside down during the work and after it is over you will be very happy with it. Sometimes things got messy but eventually everything got cleaned up. They did a bathroom remodel in my parents' house and did a very good job. It looks really beautiful..
4 years later and we are STILL receiving telemarketing calls from them. I will add that they did a siding job on our home in about 2007. Turns out that when they installed the siding, they pierced a plumbing drain. It essentially leaked slowly for over a year before that became evident. They did return, tear out the siding over the affected pipe and replace it once the plumber repaired it. However, 6 months later... guess what - we found out that the replacement siding they installed also pierced a pipe. Yet, regardless of all these issues and repeated requests to stop calling us, we still get these garbled phone calls a couple times a year asking us if we need any painting or siding. We've reported them to the BBB and filed a complaint with the DoNotCall agency. Not sure how else we can get them to stop calling us. We're not doing any business with them again.
My name is Mark and I am writing this letter as a recommendation for Richard Rucker and for Blue Diamond as Richard has gotten us through a tough situation. We had a problem with the previous contractor on the job. Richard and his guys handled it beautifully. The made us feel comfortable with what was going to happen and were always there to explain and answer any questions that we had. Our house had to be completely rebuilt from the frame up and Blue Diamond got it done as quickly as possible. The supervisor made us feel like our input was important and he kept everyone on the job in order to get it done in a timely fashion. With any contractor/home owner relationship there will be differences of opinion. We had ours with Richard, but he always calmly spoke with us about the pros and cons of our decisions and we came to a rational decision. Richard also didn't haggle with the money and the timing. He had everything laid out when money was due and what percentage was due, which was agreed to up front. In the event we had discrepancies in our calculations Richard always made sure that he wasn't over charging us. We are very happy with the job that was done to our home. Richard and Blue Diamond always acted in a professional manner and I would recommend them.
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.