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.
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Had them come out and walk a property to remodel ten days ago - after multiple calls, they finally got back to me today and said that they are not able to provide an estimate because they cannot take on new projects, but have other contractors that they recommend...
I had work done on my house due to damage from Hurricane Ike. Work was great and fine until last night during the rain. My new roof sprung a leak. Since I'm under warranty, I don't anticipate any problems getting it patched/fixed. However, they don't show any good business sense when a past customer, or anyone for that matter, is trying to contact them through the office phone system. First, your only option is to leave a voicemail. Second, 3 of the 4 voicemail choices are full so you can't leave a message anyway. I see a trend. They are not being responsible by reviewing and archiving old voicemails. I am very disappointed trying to contact them for a very simple problem...very disappointed.
Good people to work with, have done business with them for years. work nationwide retail construction.
Bobby McGhee Is An Excellent Paint Drywall Contractor - Gave me a free estimate, did a great job and finished our home repair project right on schedule.
WORST experience dealing with a business owner (Jack Higginbotham). Very unprofessional and started yelling at my staff who was contacting his office for updates on the repairs. He continuously argued that I contacted him too much and when I asked him what the process of the repairs were, he REFUSED to go through the scope of work. Paid him in January for material costs and the repairs have yet to start and it's mid-April...Mind you, this is just to repair a window and fireplace!? I've never had to deal with a business owner like Jack, and if it weren't for the management company, I would have fired Jack a long time ago. As a project manager, I highly recommend others to stay away from this company unless you're looking to keep your $ in a hole for 4-5 months.
I hired this company to restore my home after a fire in January 2016. It took 9 months for the repairs to my home to be completed. There were 3 months in which nothing was done to the home and as a result, my home received copious amounts of water in due to the heavy rains that occured in May of that year. Sheetrock had to be replaced due to mold. I asked for a statement regarding the materials purchased and was informed that is not how business was conducted. In August,I left my job to be on site full time, as the project manager was no where to be found and the sub contractors had been given erroneous information. Three of their subcontractors either never showed to the job, or arrived late and left early. My family moved back into our home in September, with several items needing to be completed on a punch list. The list was provided prior to moving back home and then two more times subsequently during the holidays. It wasn't until after I filed a complaint with the better business bureau did the home get completed. The owner of the company drafted a letter for me to sign. I did not sign that letter and instead drafted my own. The letter drafted by the company is now being circulated to potential clients and the complaint with the BBB has been mysteriously removed.
I hired N B contractors to find a leak and fix after 3 other contractors failed. Everyone else had address issue through the flashing the outside deck and caulking. Bob the owner was the only one that took the time to take the floor inside the house up to see that it was coming from the outside underneath and through the wall. There of been no leaks since he worked on it. You cannot even tell the floor had been pulled up . NB contractors created an outside patio area and solved a drainage issue. Bob has always been professional. His crew shows up in a timely manner and cleans up after themselves. Bob comes and checks on all of the work. I'm about to remodel two bathrooms and NB contractors are the contractors I will use because I trust them. Deborah
walked off the job! 1 hr late first visit, 3 h s late second visit. Damage vent and can light in attic. Doesn't clean up after work. Had to stop them from leaving to clean up bathroom. Over bought for work to be done. We have to return. So late and they wanted $ they had to work on fence with light. Walked off job. Said they were not landscapers when they were shown what was to be done before bid! DO NOT USE!!
I hired Wilson the day of. He called to keep me informed on his arrival time, he charges fairly with no hidden fees, he is efficient, and very polite. I will definitely use his services again, no question.
Stillo did a very lengthy series of repairs on our house. What started as a seemingly small job mushroomed into a much larger job very quickly as a serious amount of underlying wood rot was discovered. All work included, Stillo performed about 6 months worth of intensive work, stripping off a significant amount of improperly installed stucco. The poor initial install had caused some walls to be so severely rotten that the old studs looked like pulp. As a former contractor myself, I was very discerning and thorough in the selection process leading up to selecting Stillo Construction for this job. Stillo was 1 of 5 contractors allowed the opportunity to bid out this job. With all factors considered, I decided Stillo was the most fair price given their extensive knowledge, experience, large crews, and attention to detail.Being a 6 month job, a few issues did come up. At one point, during the repairs, a tarp blew loose during a rainstorm, and some leaking resulted. Stillo repaired all of the minor damage without any argument, free of charge, and made it look as if nothing had ever happened.In the end, Stillo was contracted for numerous jobs. Every bit of work, or change to any work was very professionally handled through detailed, and itemized contracts. Stillo also provided their proof of insurance without me even requesting it. They provided a $1 million liability policy.Stillo did an excellent job with clean up, and considering that they virtually rebuilt the house, we could not be happier. All the paint was matched perfectly, tile work looks amazing, the stucco looks great, and was done to code, and built to last. Every step of the way, Frank was happy to show me the underlying rot, and justify any work that needed to be done. Fantastic work overall. Without a doubt, Stillo has to be the best Stucco contractor in the Houston area, if not in all of Texas. I would give this job a 6 our of 5 stars. Excellent work.
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.