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.
5802 Jessamine StHouston, TX 77081
1006 W 34th StHouston, TX 77018
From Business: Acme Architectural Hardware offers locksmith services to commercial and residential customers. The company provides a range of hinges, pivots, locks, closers, exit devices and washroom accessories. It offers a variety of services and materials to various contractors and tenants of high-rise office towers, hospitals, univer…
5419 S Main StCrosby, TX 77532
From Business: Here at Crosby Hardware we provide all your home improvement needs. We have a complete line of hardware tools, paint, plumbing and electrical. We also carry all your lumber needs. Departments Electrical & Lighting Supplies Hand Tools & Power Tools Hardware Lawn & Garden Supplies Plumbing Supplies The Paint Studio: Paint & …
2614 Westheimer RdHouston, TX 77098
From Business: An old-fashioned family owned hardware store with incredible kitchenware from around the world. We've been packing stuff into our store since 1946, packing up to our 13-foot ceilings in some parts of our store. Languages: English and some Spanish
1901 W Alabama StHouston, TX 77098
I consider myself an afficianado of all things fine and I met my match upon walking into Settler's Hardward. The staff at this store was very knowledgeable about the antique hardware I was searching for. Not only did they know about that specific hardware, but were able to help me select piece…
2400 Farrell RdHouston, TX 77073
From Business: MW Industries is a manufacturer of springs and specialty fasteners that has locations all over North America. The company offers technical support through highly trained field and inside sales engineers, response product delivery and electronic commerce. Its production technologies are applied to spring coiling, fastener m…
15585 Interstate 45 SConroe, TX 77385
From Business: Bison Building Materials is one of the largest independent suppliers of lumber products and roof decking materials in Texas. The company operates more than 15 divisions in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. It offers exterior and interior doors, columns, moldings, plywood, stair parts, mantels, cabinets, wind…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
This store has the best collection of nuts. bolts, screws, washers, etc. in the area. I restore old motorcycles and have many times found exactly what I needed here. The gentlemen who have helped me during my past few visits have been patient and friendly. This is one of my favorite stores in the NW Houston area and I would recommend to anyone in search of an ample hardware selection.
I dont know about this company specifically , but my car broke down over 120 miles from home and three men from this company tried to get my car started again. They were very polite, professional and offered me assistance when they did not have to do so!! If they are this kind to a stranger they aren't even working for, I have no doubt they are a great company to hire since they really care about people!,
I hate that I even have to give this horrible place one star! I will never purchase another thing from Sears! I bought a washer, dryer and refrigerator 2 days ago. The dryer showed up with dents in the side, the refrigerator had a broken wheel, and the washer needs a new agitator. The soonest I can get anyone out to my home to fix anything is in three days, and I can't get the parts delivered for seven days! Completely unacceptable service seeing as I just spent a lot of money with this company and I haven't been able to use any of the appliances. If you're considering buying anything from here, DON'T!****UPDATE****I've been sitting at my house for an hour now for a technician that supposedly showed up. I've been told now that I've missed my appointment and can't reschedule until Friday. I'M RETURNING EVERYTHING. I WILL NEVER BUY FROM THEM AGAIN! I HATE THIS COMPANY! I've emailed both people that have asked me to, and gotten no help! This is the WORST experience I've ever had!
The company is terrible and the boss is the RUDEST person ever!!!!First, the price jumped from the estimation of $75 to the final charge of $250 after service. The worst, the boss is the rudest person I have ever met. Seriously, she argue in a very rude tone and insult the customer on the phone. I was shocked by such behavior with high degree of unprofessionalism. Strongly not recommended!
Hired Mike to replace all the sheetrock in a bathroom which was destroyed by a hot water heater above. Quality of work is great, and he held 100% to the price he quoted just from seeing a couple pictures I sent from my phone. Also showed up on time both days he was out. Good to go.
Alspaugh’s customer service is pathetic and not customer oriented! I ordered 13 Jon Hardy makeup cases for gifts, but first ordered one for myself since Alspaugh’s failed to have a sample for me to see in person. The makeup case for me arrived in an individual box, which I was thrilled about because the 13 additional ones I needed to order were going to be shipped throughout the USA and the box was perfect! My husband went to pick up the 13 makeup cases, but was advised that one was on back order due to the color. Alspaugh’s acknowledged they knew this, but forgot to call me to advise because they were too busy. My husband put the 12 makeup cases in the garage when he got home and then we left for vacation. When we got home, I went to look at the makeup cases he picked up and they were all piled into a large open box and none of them were in individual boxes. I went to Alspaugh’s to pick up the 13th makeup case that had finally arrived and it was not in an individual box either. I questioned Alspaugh’s about this and they said it’s due to the mass order that was placed during the Trunk Show. Why should that affect how my products were delivered? They should be delivered to me in the same way the first one was that I ordered for myself. I was then ganged up on by four of their employees behind the counter because they had nothing better to do and all they could say was that’s just how it is. NO ONE was proactive in trying to accommodate or find a solution! Tina just shriveled up her nose and lips and said in her snooty way “Ugh Huh. I’m sorry!” multiple times. HELLO! I just spent more than $1300 on these stupid 14 makeup cases and that’s ALL you can say to me? What ever happened to customer service? As much as people spend in Alspaugh’s (because nothing is cheap), there should be a mutual level of customer service provided, but that is rarely the case! I will not be shopping in Alspaugh’s in the future because they are very unappreciative of their customers!
I have always had a great experience at this store and am so glad to have this near my house. Unlike the other post, I have found Bob to be rather helpful as well as the associates. I'd recommend this store to anyone.
If you do manage to get help, the employees are rude and indifferent. I have never had a good experience in that store.
I went in there with my wife a few weeks back and we were walking around the sad ghost town looking store hoping to get some help with a key question. The owner Bob Ozenbaugh came up and was very unhelpful. They didn't have what i needed and instead of helping he basically sent me off to Lowes or home depot. It seems as if every time i come in here i get referred somewhere else! Anyway Bob was SO RUDE and unhelpful; i will not be returning again.
Mike Sullivan purposely deceived me and completely ignored my instructions. He took advantage of my wife and gave her a contract that did not adhere to the scope of work I laid out in detail for him. He tried to patch up rotten boards and pass them off as replaced and repaired. None of the work he performed was correct or to industry standards. I had to pay another contractor to completely re do his 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.