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.
I had some storm damage 5 trees fell on my house and fence. Heavenly Gates came out gave an initial estimate of $1600 to repair my 87ft of fence damaged by the storm. I later found out my property line wasn't correct from the first fence I put up and talked to Max about moving an additional 10ft section back approx. 1/2 a foot and to repair my old gate and make the opening the tree people cut to get equipment in back yard a gate also. Also told him their was approx. 15 pickets throughout the fence that needed to be replaced in addition to the storm damage. He said all that for $2850 including staining the fence. so 2nd estimate I received says:Remove and install privacy fence using pressure treated wood 4x4 post pressure treated All post will be cemented in ground. All pickets will touch the ground for no gaps. 8ft spacing already cut out entrancewill be converted into gate. Customer will purchase stain for fence. We will stain fence color of choice. Height: 6 Ft.127 All this was done over the phone due to having to commute 3 hours away from my house and I communicated I wanted the fence to ride the ground to prevent gaps on the bottom to keep neighbors dogs out. The day of drama happened with the neighbor and Max seemed like a good guy working with me through the drama. Job completed I get home 4 days later to see I only have 67ft of fence replaced, the old gate was fixed, the new gate was made but sagging very badly and 0 extra pickets were replaced, only pickets that were damaged during the storm and even 1 that was damaged in storm was left unreplaced. I counted all the bad ones I had wanted replaced came up to 19. Also my fence looks like a roller coaster on the top. I proceeded to contact Max and explain my frustration. He proceeded to tell me that the first estimate was to repair the fence not replace it all... (even though the estimate we actually went with did say replace 127ft of fence). Also he stated that he only replaced the pickets that were damaged in the storm acting like we never had the conversation over the phone. After 20 minutes of back n forth we came to an agreement if he would come back out change 4 of the pickets and removed the piece of wood they had set part of my fence on + removed the 2 old posts that were cut off sticking 2-3 inches out of the ground that I would be ok with it. He was supposed to be there Wednesday 5-16-2018 never showed I texted late afternoon no response called the next day no response. Next step is to report to better business bureau and possibly an attorney. Don't go to these shotty at best with 0 integrity contractors! Pictures are posted click my name to see the great work!You Maxwell are a lying scumbag! Per our discussion I told you the extra work was unrelated to the storm and the adjuster already allotted the damage done by storm! The extra work was out of my pocket you lying cheat as I told you numerous times. Besides that you never finished the damaged portion properly what do you say of that? Here is our final text which you agreed to come fix 4 pickets get the damn board from under the fence line you laid on it and remove the 2 posts sticking out the ground 3 inches! 0 integrity! Maxwell: Ok. Tree movers used that ply wood and the other wood behind house to.drive tree cutter on so it want get stuck.I'll get it. No problemAll anyone has to do is look at the pictures and see your workmanship! See you in court!
Have used Heavenly Gates Fence for more than one job. Found Roger to be very honest. Work done on time with high praise for quality. Cannot say enough about them
Just want to say thanks for the terrific job on the fence and gate!! Everything was turned out the way it explained. Great Job!!
We use Heavenly Gates Fence on all our fence repairs at our Shreveport, La. facility. Whether it's our automatic gates or fence repair at a short moments notice, we trust Heavenly Gates Fence to keep us secured
This business had a driver that hit and run my daughter. After telling me to get estimates and they would repair her car,decided they did not care about her and refused to honor their promise.I would not do any business with this company. They definitely have no integrity .I now have to handle this through my insurance company and pay a deductible. This is so wrong. Makes me wonder how the owner treats his own family,if he has one
I called today and spoke with Mr. Clint Wilson. Very nice person who truly cares about helping others. Thanks so much for hiring such a good person.
They will come out give the price set the date to build and never show up or call just a little one horse company that don't really know what they are doing Be sure to check reviews before you hire someone to build for you (beware) of ace deck builders one star means the worst 5 star means the best they should have no stars also beware of sunset decks !!!
Just wanted to say what the fence looks like one year later.. there are half inch gaps in the board on board cedar fence, the pickets are coming off at the bottom because they did not nail them into the bottom board, I had to add some boards on the bottom to nail the pickets in and they left the metal posts taller then the pickets.. friends that see it always ask if there is a chain link fence behind it.. and they left some caps off of some of the post.. what a terrible fence company and they bragged about their great fence they installed..The worse service that I have had from a company.. never showed up when they said they would and would not even have the courtesy to call us to let us know.. The last day that they were suppose to show up,, they did not show up and did not bother to call us and later I found out that they went to do a bigger job and of course they did not call, , . If you like excuses and apologies and a bad fence, this is the company you should hire..
Put in online for an estimate called me 3 days later asks if he can come out the next day to look never shows I call him leave message doesn't return call. Not a good way to do business.
We contacted Heavenly Gates and requested an estimate on damaged fence. They came out immediately with a quote of $1600 and we went through the motions of setting up payment through insurance. They scheduled with us to come out on Monday, September 1st, but never showed up. We never received a phone call. Only after attempting to contact them did they finally return our calls. The reason said for not showing was because he had jury duty and had only found out about it a couple days prior. We rescheduled for the following Monday, September 7. Once again they did not show up. We have yet to hear from the company and when the attempt was made to contact them again, the voicemail box was full. At this point, we have decided to go with another company.
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.