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.
Serving the San Diego Area
From Business: Founded in 1975, City Service Paving is one of the largest paving and pavement maintenance contractors. The company is a full-service concrete and asphalt company…
4565 Ruffner St Ste 101San Diego, CA 92111
From Business: Welcome to Mr. Handyman serving Clairemont and S La Jolla, where professional, safe, reliable handyman service for your entire "To Do" list is just one call away.…
Serving the San Diego Area
From Business: Here at Specialty Lighting Distributors, quality service is our specialty. That means your complete satisfaction is our top priority. Our professional staff membe…
1308 N Magnolia AveEl Cajon, CA 92020
From Business: Operational since 1985, J and M Interior Specialties offers installation services for various types of acoustical and architectural ceilings. It serves the citize…
4068 Meade AveSan Diego, CA 92116
In 2015-2016 Jason (Bison Constructors) completely transformed the exterior of my house. There was severe dry-rot that had destroyed the 2nd floor d…
7401 Princess View DrSan Diego, CA 92120
From Business: We are a one stop shop for asbestos removal services. Our team is fully trained to safely and properly remove asbestos, as well as lead and mold from residential …
Serving the San Diego Area
From Business: DRV Modular Contractors is a family-owned and operated construction company that offers design, building and relocation services for a range of industries. Founde…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Easy to work with from start to finish. No nonsense sales, very reasonable pricing, good work from install team - very happy with the end result. Looks great and I feel great about my purchase.
They are not environmentally friendly. Caught them dumping harmful rubbage in a random alley. A company like this should take trash construction products to a proper waste facility.
Do not use Serviz! It is a scam! They constantly don't keep to the scheduled appointment. I scheduled a Saturday carpet cleaning and they gave me a 2 hour window from 11-1pm. I received 2 texts and an email confirming my appointment. At 11:30 they called to tell me no techs were available. We rescheduled for 2-4pm the same day. I had to call in at 4pm because I hadn't heard from the dispatcher. Once again, no techs available, even though I had made my appointment 3 days prior. My cleaning was time sensitive and I will now have to pay my landlord $300 because I wasn't able to get the carpets cleaned before the end of the lease. When I informed the customer service rep of this she stated that they don't give discounts to help make up for this. Don't use Serviz!
I've referred my friends and co-workers to Jeff with Distinctive for their window replacements. They have all been 100% satisfied. Jeff is a true professional and a pleasure to work with.
California Constructors takes pride in their work and always delivers quality to the Owner. The staff values and respects the Subcontractors.
Great company, and I like the good quote they gave me on the phone, and how fast they came out to my home.
Haener Contracting did a full remodel of our home and did an absolutely beautiful job. Almost a year later, we're still astounded by the quality of the work that was done. We were told to do a "punch list" after the remodel, which was only a few small details that needed to be completed to our expectations. Haener Contracting and their staff were very pleasant to work with and treated us like family. We were very comfortable throughout the entire process. We would recommend Haener Contracting to anyone looking for professional quality work. We will call on Haener Contracting for any of our future work.
Robert Cimo is a con man and he stole over $20K from us. We hired him to do a house remodel in Cardiff, Ca. He said he would get the permit. We paid him for the architectural and engineering work, then he came back after a few months and asked for more money. We found out months later that he had pocketed most of the money and for most of the 11 months that he said our plans were being submitted over and over again, we had no architect and the plans were never finished. He just kept resubmitting them to make us think there was progress. We also paid him $6900 for a shed he never finished. We spent well over a year trying to get him to do that work we had paid for in full and he just would not. We filed a complaint with the state and he promised to finish the shed if we let the other money go, but we could never get him to finish it so we have given up. We are elderly and the stress of this bad dishonest contractor has ruined our lives now for nearly two years. This man is very charming and we made the mistake of trusting him with our money. If a thief breaks into your home and steals $20K, he will be arrested and the government will try him. When a contractor steals your money it is considered a civil matter and the process through the contractor's board is lengthy and laborious, and this guy only had a bond of $8K, so we gave up because it was eating up what we have left of our lives. We just hope posting reviews helps other vulnerable elderly people not be ripped off by this con man.
Has to be the worst company in the medical field to work for. If you're looking for work, this is not the company you want to work for. They will promise you the moon but never deliver.
This company (Ed and Andrea) have been a NIGHTMARE to work for! We were contracted by Ed in March to do some new improvements one of their "clients" in Santa Ana. I drove up to meet Ed on site to see what they all needed. I showed up and met with Ed. Seemed like a very nice gentlemen. After sending him a quote I received a call from Ed stating that he bid the job wrong and was not making any money off the job if I could take my price down at all to help him out. I happily told him I will take $400.00 off the labor given its a 4 hour round-trip for us. He was pleased. We scheduled the job and went up with a crew to make all stalls ADA compliant, install galvanized poles, parking bumpers, fire lanes and installed "cold patch" asphalt after jack hammering out two 4' sections of speed bumps as stated on the quote. We needed water and all the hose bibs had locks on them so we ask management to remove the locks. They did so, and when we left that night the locks ($12.00 HomeDepot) were missing. The next day we returned onsite to finish the job before we departed we tried to go into the "management office" to see if by chance they had the lock, but the office was closed, just as the night prior when we went to see if they had it. We did the job, took beautiful pictures and departed back to San Diego. About the time we were arriving back on the yard, I received a phone call from Matt (a rep from ICS) telling us we needed to drive back up and get a hose lock....) I explained to him that we were in San Diego and Friday traffic would take us at least 6 hours for a $12.00 lock, he didn't see the problem......after telling him that we would not be returning, but would be happy to pay double for a hose lock he reluctantly hung up (all in all a nice man). I knew there would be problems after that......I could write more but this site limits my essay. all in all.....Ed and Andrea Fernandez owes us over $6k it was more then that, but since they didnt like our asphalt work, Andrea is making me pay for a $1250 job from another company....if that makes sense to you. BEWARE of these two.....
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.