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.
This is such a great school! All of my nieces, nephews, and my own children attended there. If you are interested in providing your child a solid la…
From Business: The Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy is a charter school that serves more than 500 students in grades six through 12 and is located in Stockton, Calif. F…
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Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
My son went to Lakeside Christian from K through 3rd grade. Those were some hard years my son was constantly in the office when I would go to pick him up, he was labeled a discipline problem and the answer to that was sitting him on a stool in the office sometimes all day. When we moved, within two days his new teacher had him figured out had us take him to the doctor and quickly diagnosed his learning disability. After three years of schooling our son was 1-1/2 years behind his peers. We did some digging and found test scores and other information never brought to our attention that showed he was struggling and it was easy to see that his problems were not behavior but the lack of training and experience of the staff when dealing with any student that doesn't fit in their box. When I brought my concerns to the superintendent of schools to try and make sure that the systemic problems were addressed so that no other parents had to pay the high tuition to find out their child was not getting the help and education they need. The schools response was that they had done nothing wrong and that the contract I signed says nothing about their responsibility to educate their students. When I expressed my dissatisfaction with the only recourse I had which was stopping payment on the last months tuition they sent me to collections. Lakeside Christian puts on a good front, but their curriculum is outdated and stale, their teachers are untrained and ill equipped and there focus is on turning a profit not sound education. Parents beware, we found out the hard way that even though these private "Christian" schools charge huge amounts of money they are not regulated to any standard. They do not have any mandate to make sure that your child gets what they need. And don't take it from me but right from the lips of their own superintendent they are under no obligation to actually educate your children.
My son attended from the ages 2-6. He left to attend elementary school for 1st grade. I'm constantly amazed at how well rounded his education was through his years at Stockton Montessori. He joined the music program and soccer programs offered as well. He has impressed all of my family and friends. I am so grateful to have had the fantastic staff at Stockton Montessori for my child's early education.
Redid the water desk she and gutters on the house after rains last year. Hope illy it will help keep water away from house. Fair prices when compared.
Worked with constructiin specialist a year ago to add on a bathroom and couldn't be happier. It took a bit longer than expected, only downside.
Very nice preschool/daycare. Children seemed happy and nice play area. The tuition was reasonable.
Stockton Montessori School won me over very quickly and allayed all my fears. They have the perfect blend of academics, culture appreciation, and socialization. They foster independence, creativity, and a genuine pride in learning in all of their students. The entire staff is dedicated to guiding each child in discovering and maximizing their strengths while encouraging them to tackle new tasks/learning experiences they may not be familiar with. This staff also provides a very nurturing environment which I was very drawn to and one I had not observed with other schools when I was choosing a school for my daughter, I see the progress my daughter has mad. my Honey and I are amazed! She has become a confident, independent, and respectful little lady who loves to learn. She is excited to come home each day and share all she has learned and accomplished! I recommend this school with no reservations! Thank You w/LOVE Ms Kris, Ms Jodie, Ms Susie, Ms Seta, Ms Krystina Ms AmandaTatiana Corchon
My daughter attended her first Montessori school in Tracy and the school was not quite what I had researched about Montessori method, After a year of her being upset about school I finally decided to take her for a visit to Stockton's Montessori program and she instantly fell in love. She got right to work doing her "jobs" and Ms. Jodi and Ms. Kris were incredibly warm and welcoming. The building looks like it has seen better days but what is happening inside the building is what counts. Warm and passionate teachers and happy healthy children!
I was a student at there. Here's some experiende I've learned.Some bad and goodsBad:The students are over control! I remember vividly my first day of school. Yes, they did push and punch me. It was bad at first, but when I get used to it, they're become friendly. Still, criticism still happen in my whole entire school year. I think not only this school, but it's naturally that the bigger ones want to show up their power. Secondly, I'd like to see more meeds for different subjects. In order to encourages the students, not only go to school everyday will do. But how about "All A's All Year", or "Characteristicly Nice". Encourages them more, to be nice and to working hard. Good: Nice teachers, and simple. Like they all said, "Simple stuffs make people feel simply special."
She is a great daycare provider my baby adores her. Great place to take your child.
This is such a great school! All of my nieces, nephews, and my own children attended there. If you are interested in providing your child a solid launching pad for learning, then this is the school for you! The seasoned teachers understand the different learning needs of all children, and create a wonderful balance in the classroom through music and movement, sensory awareness, consistency, routine, and structure. This school teaches to the "whole child", (not just "ABC's" and "1,2,3's"), which sets the foundation for wanting to learn! Some other benefits, too, is that they also have before and after school care, as well as, an AMAZING playground with sand boxes and water spickets (which my son could never resist!), swings, tricycles, an outdoor music center, and a large grassy area for lawn games, all under a canopy of shady oak trees! Love this school!
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.