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.
4616 25th Ave NE Suite 543Seattle, WA 98105
From Business: Tim Wheeler Masonry Construction is locally owned and operated business. We believe achieving quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction is essential. With o…
13024 Beverly Park RdMukilteo, WA 98275
From Business: Our services include: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, 24/7 emergency services. Water damage, Fire damage, Vandalism, Demolism, Rebuild, remodel, Board-up, Te…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Some of the next steps to take after flooding damages your home.
Tim McClincy is amazing! His enthusiasm for the work he does combined with years of experience made our lives and the house so much better. He worked hard to make sure that we understood the processes and that the plans for the updates were exactly what we wanted. Tim's suggestions were valuable in making the new materials look good with what we already had in the house for an overall feeling of harmony in the spaces. Tim's showroom in Renton is a great place to get ideas and compare actual products. He has his own stone inventory and tools for making countertops at his business location and stands behind his work. The workers were knowledgeable and professional. They were on schedule and cleaned up all debris from their activity when they left each day.
It was great having someone as experienced as McClincy's in our corner when dealing with the insurance adjuster. They also walked us through the process of getting everything paid for. It took a total of 5 months to complete the work but our house is gorgeous now and definitely no smoke smell. Watching everything in our house get thrown away or packed up and then stripped down was difficult. Jon and Danny were continually available to answer questions and take care of details. We even got help with picking out decor and colors and it all came together beautifully. The lost items were detailed in a list which made submitting to the insurance for reimbursement much easier. Moving back in went smoothly as every box was moved back to the room it had come out of and all other items put back to where they were before. McClincy's oversaw the removal of our piano, clocks, electronics and clothing. Each company performed the cleanup well and brought back to the house in great condition.
We were so amazed at the McClincy organization. The pure professionalism and knowledge of restoration after our home was damaged due to frozen pipes was the best. Tim, the owner and his team was superb "a true man of his word". The workmanship, friendliness and overall customer service was terrific. They took special care when packing and storing our items and always kept us informed of their progress, as we had to relocate our family to a hotel while they were working. We did some upgrades with them and love our new kitchen. We liked that they had a showroom so we could pick out our materials. We have found a place to shop for all our home improvement needs.
My home was flooded by a broken pipe under my kitchen sink. I called McClincy's Emergency Response and they were very calming to me and gave me great service on what to do while they dispatched their crew which arrived within an hour. When they arrived they presented themselves very professionally and were caring and polite. They were able to help me with my insurance carrier to get through their process. After everything was dry their project manager stepped forward to restore my house wonderfully. All the people were pleasant, on-time and very skilled. What was first a nightmare became a pleasant experience using McClincy's. Nice you have someone you can trust and count on.
My wife and I want to express our sincere gratitude for your recent remodeling job in our powder room. We are extremely pleased with the outcome and both agree this represents a new touch of elegance, will add many years of pleasure and pay back when we eventually sell our home. This recent work represents the fifth job you have completed for us over the past five years. The reason we keep coming back is based on several reason beyond quality of work. You do what you say you are going to do, your workers are polite, clean up and if anything is not right you make it right. We often recommend to our close friends if they need home remodeling work, be sure to have McClincy's give you a quote. You are not the cheapest, but the minimal difference in price has always been made up in the quality and peace of mind that you have continued to deliver. Having experienced the disappointment that is often typical with many home contractors, I believe the high quality of experience you deliver truly differentiates you and your company.
Our upstairs toilet overflowed late evening, water soaked the upstairs carpeting, and leaked through the floor, coming out of canned lights in the downstairs hall way below. We managed to shut off the water, dry up most of the mess, and telephoned a few companies 1st thing in the morning - around 9am. We reached McClincy's, and they had their water remediation specialist at our house by 9:20. They immediately tested to let us know where water had seeped, removed the counter top, toilet and flooring from our bathroom, set up equipment to dry out the water both upstairs and downstairs, in addition, the owner stopped by to review the damage, and let my husband and I know the necessary steps to clean up the damage. They worked directly with our insurance company as well. Once satisfied the water was removed, we worked with Randy to replace the flooring, a countertop and choose paint to repair the bathroom damage. In addition, because water had seeped through the downstairs ceiling, they replaced the canned lighting, removed and replaced the drywall, and repainted the entire downstairs great room, as it was all one color and open concept. They were professional and quick, the entire process took about 2-1/2 weeks, primarily because we opted to pay a bit more and upgrade the bath room flooring which had to be ordered. I would definitely use them again.
I had frozen water pipes in my rental home and I was out of town at the time and my insurance company could begin and I had to fight with the independent adjuster about getting reimbursed for loss rental income though it was clearly listed as covered in my policy. My insurance adjuster kept on telling me I had to get hired an independent adjuster locally that was difficult to work with. My tenants had to move out so repairs three estimates even after they had the estimate from McClincy's; which delayed my tenants from moving back in quickly. After several weeks I finally heard back from my insurance company adjuster who promptly paid the claim and authroized repairs. Thank goodness McClincy's didn't wait for my insurance company to issue checks or my tenants would have been out several months. In fact my repairs were completed even before I got an insurance check. Mcclincy's will ensure you are treated fairly by your insurance company!
Treat there workers like dogs, the only workers management cares about are their foremans. Yell at you for taking bathroom breaks, every meeting starts with we care about your safety but as soon as you start working it goes out the window. They want push overs and yes men, if you have a back bone you won't make it with this company. A foreman lied and said I quit, even though I told my superintendent I didn't he let me go. If you want to constantly worry about your next paycheck this company will give you that!
While I have never employed Earthcraft Services, my interactions with them have been extremely unpleasant. One of their leaf blowers patrols our city block multiples days each week, blowing dust around driveways and into apartments. We have called them to ask who hired this man seemingly doing nothing helpful, and how a "green" company can allow such wastefulness, as well as disturbing the entire community. We were met with no help, and the problem persists to this day (after months); I watch dumbfounded as this man repeated leaf blows dust and NO leaves or anything of the sort. Avoid this company, as they have poor customer service and do not stand by their own self-stated principles.
Our bathroom floor had water damage. We called Fischer in June to come repair, and opted to use insurance to pay. We also request a few upgrades: use tile floor instead of vinyl (120 sq ft), install 2 pocket doors, and move a light-switch. They provided an estimate for all work, including insurance and upgrades. We signed and they ripped out the floor. It was weeks before they came to do more work. Supposedly they were trying to find shower tile to match what we had left after the tear out. In late August we finally got a change order that indicated they couldn't find the tile and needed to replace the whole shower. The change order also included some upgrades and the price seemed high, but the estimator assured me it was also an estimate and pressured me to sign so we could continue work. Since we had already waited over two months to have work done (living without a shower and toilet that whole time), I signed. The project dragged out for a total of 7 months. They told me to explicitly not pay until they finalized the bill, so I waited. I asked many times about it. Meanwhile, I had to take on the burden of managing the insurance payments because they wouldn't do the work themselves. Finally insurance was fully paid and Fischer told me to pay the exact amount of the estimate, stating it was a contract the whole time. Now I am reviewing in detail and found some items that were never completed (moving the toilet over 18" was one). They are refusing to take this off the bill, even though it was not done. I am also finding out that a subcontractor who came in to help later, because Fischer couldn't complete the work themselves, will be charging me pieces of the items Fischer is charging me. For custom upgrades (tile floor, doors, light switch) we are being charged $4300 by Fischer and several hundred by the subcontractor. It does not add up. Fischer has resisted to provide us with line item cost of materials and labor for custom work for 4 weeks now, even though that is part of the contract.
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.