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.
2525 Wallingwood DrAustin, TX 78746
From Business: Providing personal and individualized care is what sets our office apart from the rest! We utilize joint mobilization/manipulation techniques and many soft tissue therapies in order to provide the best individualized treatment for each patient.
2720 Bee Caves RdAustin, TX 78746
When I came to Dr. Lisa I had been feeling very ill for several months. I had gone to all kinds of allopathic doctors and had taken x-rays and other tests galore. Noone could find what was wrong. I was extremely thin, could not eat much and I felt like a quarter of a person; I could bar…
1619 W 6th StAustin, TX 78703
From Business: West End Chiropractic is an Austin chiropractic clinic conveniently located at 1619 West 6th Street, near 6th & Mopac. Dr. Craig Richardson gives his patients careful, gentle adjustments, and recommen ... (See complete bio at Insider Pages)
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Dr. Lewis helped me with a lower back issue I was having when I worked in Austin a few years ago. Sitting at a desk all day had left me with a persistent ache in my spine and lowest set of vertebrae. I had tried a conversion table, which is used to help alleviate pressure on your spinal column and all that stuff that never gets stretched (since you are hardly ever upside down when you think about it). The conversion table helped my issues temporarily, but the aches would always come back. And it seemed the more I used the table, the more I would want to use it. Eventually to the point of where If I didn't use it every day I would be in even more pain that I originally started with. It was an odd situation but I needed help from an expert, not just something I saw on a late night TV ad, so I called Elite Wellness and I must say Dr. Lewis was a lifesaver. We did a number of things: including stretch routines, pressure point procedures, hanging routines (other than just laying on a table), and much more. After my 3rd visit I felt like I was an inch taller and my back felt much stronger and rigid. Bending over was effortless, whereas before it would almost always be painful task. He left with a wealth of information that I still use today. I wish I still lived near Bee Cave, I would definitely go visit Elite Wellness first thing to see what's new. You will learn so much there and meet a lot of friendly people, and there's nobody else I would recommend for Chiropractic care over Dr. Cash Lewis. The guy is very passionate about what he does and he really knows his stuff.
My husband and I did a lot of research before starting this project. We were concerned about hiring a professional contractor in our price range. Our house was built in the 1950‘s with no insulation, single pane windows, asbestos shingles, our utility bills were unmanageable. We decided to get bids from local contractors for windows and siding. During our first meeting with Jon, we knew we wanted his company, JP Construction, to do the job. Jon made suggestions we had not thought of that would improve the look, energy efficiency of our house he addressed every concern we had. We hoped that his bid would be competitive with others we had received. Upon comparing the bids and the work to be performed, we were impressed with JP’s pricing and the level of detail outlined in the bid. The excellence in his company is reflective in the work crew that arrived, their work is outstanding. There was great attention to all details of the project including, adhering to the timetable, minimizing disruption in the house, and daily cleanup to minimize the mess. The workers were courteous and took pride in their work. During the construction we were concerned about some termite damage and rotted wood that was found when they removed the shingles. They quickly put our minds to ease that the problems were manageable and addressed them quickly. The construction environment relaxed, I didn’t feel like I had strangers at my house while they were there. They even befriended my wary dogs who began to look forward to their arrival every day.
Cottonwood Custom Homes built our unique 5000 sq ft home in the hill country outside Austin. From the earliest planning stages through the final touches on our project, he consistently went above and beyond anything we could have expected to ensure that our home was not only picture perfect, but was exactly and precisely what we wanted. From choosing the perfect build site on our 7 acres to suggesting a loft area to link the kids' rooms, Cottonwood contributed not only solid practical ability in building and managing our project, but also creative and aesthetic ideas that dramatically improved our house. They patiently worked through each of our exacting requirements, and insisted that every worker on the project get every detail perfect. They even went so far as to take over managing the pool construction (at no extra charge, though it was beyond the scope of his contract) when the poolbuilders proved incompetent, just to be sure we weren't left with an unfinished or substandard outcome. This amount of detail and care for their customers make Cottonwood Custom Homes a premier builder.
We recently downsized homes to a zero lot line neighborhood and the immediate drawback for us was the amount of outside noise we heard all throughout the day (dogs, trucks, neighbors, etc). The home is only 8 years old but all the windows were builder-grade and the sound control was horrible. Upon researching options I came across Graceland and spoke with the owner, Jacob Boone, and he recommended I go with a specialty glass they offered called "Hero Glass", which is a laminated dual-pane glass package. The results have been dramatic. Where with our old windows we could hear every little nuance outside, we now have to look out the window to see if it's even raining!! Jacob was the consummate professional through it all, the windows delivered as promised, and the installers did an excellent job. We definitely recommend Graceland for any sort of window replacement project.
We have worked with Graceland Windows for a number of remodel projects throughout the Austin area. Their windows are stellar - the quality is top-notch -we are always given tons of options, and that is especially appreciated for the high-end custom homes. Jacob is great to work with. His delivery and approach is impressive because he doesn't just try to sell homeowners the most expensive brand. He is easy-going and affable, and a dream to work with. He also takes his time, works with designers, and ensures that everyone is happy. A small business like Graceland is hard to find in a quickly growing city like Austin that is over-populated with builders and contractors just rushing to get the job done. We know we can depend on Graceland; we couldn't be happier with their work ethic and ability to deliver a job done right. We HIGHLY recommend Graceland Windows + Doors.
I started looking for replacement windows in our South Austin home back in April of '14 and quickly grew tired of sales guys overselling me and telling me what I "needed". Needless to say I called very few back. I finally quit kicking tires in August and decided to get 2 more quotes and Graceland Windows was one of them. Immediately I liked Jacob and the way he talked WITH me and not at me. He showed me samples and even gave me addresses of some homes he had installed similar windows in for my wife and I to take a look at. The pricing was fair and the product has endured nicely through some of the hotter and colder days we've had. Overall, I'm very pleased with the replacement windows we purchased, the installation, and the way that the owner dealt with us. I'd choose Graceland Windows again if I were to do it all over.
Working with Jacob has reaffirmed every reason I've ever had to use local businesses. Jacob was hands-on, detail oriented, and like another reviewer stated, I didn't feel like I was being sold something. I have nothing but great things to say about Jacob's customer service, and we weren't always the most decisive customers!!As for the product Graceland installed, we are equally as pleased. We had 14 old windows replaced, new window sills on half of them were installed, and we ended up having Graceland install Graber blinds on the front of the house (not originally planned).Of all the quotes we received, Graceland's wasn't the cheapest and it by far wasn't the most expensive. It was reasonable, and we will be getting new blinds from them for the rest of the house before next summer, and possibly a door if this wind keeps up!
Dr. John Chaney is fantastic! I was referred to him to work on healing my digestive system. We met and he prescribed regimen of supplements that have really improved my health in a short amount of time. As of today, I am symptom free and taking only a maintenance dose of the remaining supplements. He also pointed out some weak areas for me to work on from a whole body perspective and I have worked these muscle groups more rigorously and I feel healthier now than I have in a long time.I really appreciate John's partnership approach to health. He listened to my concerns and was patient and helpful. I will definitely continue to use John as part of my healthcare team for years to come!
We are very satisfied with our experience replacing windows with Graceland. We had done this sort of thing before at our home in Kansas so we had some benchmarks on pricing already. I don't want to sound like a broken record repeating what other reviewers have stated but Jacob was great to work with. He was honest and thorough, and I felt like he genuinely cared about getting our project done right. Mr. Boone showed up to the job site, walked through the final inspection with myself and his installers, and he answered all of our questions. We do recommend this company.
The customer service we received from Jacob at Graceland Windows rivaled any service we have ever gotten since owning our south austin home…a home that is 28 years old and seen its fair share of contractors. The windows we purchased are beautiful and the price was lower than 2 of the 3 other quotes we received. What sold us though was the attention to detail that Jacob had and how quickly he responded to concerns we had leading up to the installation. I've referred Graceland to 2 other neighbors and fully expect to see them in the neighborhood again soon.
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.