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.
1620 Centerville TpkeVirginia Beach, VA 23464
Taught me how to clear the hair out od my drain so i didnt have to call them repeatedly..and it was easy to do it...making me smarter stronger and f…
2000 General Booth Blvd Ste 204Virginia Beach, VA 23454
I am writing to you "Custom Home Improvement" in Virginia Beach, Virginia to thank you and to let others know about your great company and service. …
1377 London Bridge RdVirginia Beach, VA 23453
I can very highly recommend Atomic Plumbing. I had my hot water heater replaced with an ultra high efficiency gas model with a computerized performa…
4320 Virginia Beach BlvdVirginia Beach, VA 23452
From Business: Lots of places will give you a title loan, but at Fast Auto Loans no one knows this business better than we do. Ask us how you can get more money and easy payment…
4500 Holland Office ParkVirginia Beach, VA 23452
From Business: ADT has been in the business of helping to protect and connect to what matters most for over 140 years. Delivering 24/7 monitored life safety and security protect…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
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Cleaning up some spots that rodents had nested in my crawl space when I hit a PVC pipe with my back. Luckily I cut the houses water in about 15 seconds preventing a bigger problem. Called Atomic and they got to my house quickly. They took a look at it and determined that fixing the broken half inch PVC was a "major repair" (my guess is it was major because it was late Friday afternoon and I was covered in wet rodent droppings and wouldn't have a shower unless they fixed it, gross) so they quote me for $729.03. But he did see that I had military decals on my car so he gave me a military discount which was $72.90. Then he said he would knock $150 off if I chose to restore the water to the house myself so they wouldn't have to come back out in two hours to do it. So after all is said and done, I paid $506.13 for a 15 minute repair, maybe $5 in parts and they were at my house for less then an hour in total. This is hilarious though and I'm not kidding when I tell you they gave us a free plunger!!!??? Ha!They get two stars because they got here quickly and they did a fine job at repairing the broken pipe. They are missing the other three stars because they knew they had us and took full advantage of it. I had no way of taking a shower, so no way of going to the store considering I was a walking biohazard. I will call someone else next time. They should have taken me to dinner before they stuck it to me.
I can very highly recommend Atomic Plumbing. I had my hot water heater replaced with an ultra high efficiency gas model with a computerized performance package. I also had the main water shutoff valves replaced and a new toilet bowl flange replaced which was set into the concrete slab. My technician was Matt L. his work was nothing but perfect. I would ask for him by name if you were to have Atomic do work for you. I am so very impressed with Matt L’s work; I would change his title from Technician to Technologist. Atomic gave me an excellent price, and worked until all the work was done to my satisfaction. I will have no indecision about who to call if I need any other plumbing work done.
Saturday morning and we find out we are unable to flush ANY of our toilets (or run water)... Called another service company and were told they "may get to us" that day, or, more likely, the following morning... Um, we couldn't flush our toilets!! Anyway, A-1 saved the day, and most likely, my marriage. The technician was unable to come out right away, but kept in constant contact, helping me trouble shoot what the issue may have been. When he did arrive, he was on the problem immediately (bad grease clog in the main drain, running the length of the house), and took care of it quickly and professionally with NO mess! Will absolutely use this company again, if the need arises! Thank you A-1!
My experience with Atomic Plumbing was exceptional. I needed my garbage disposal replaced, so I called Atomic and they were able to accommodate me that day. The technician called prior to the appointment to inform me he was on the way and could arrive early if I wished. Eric T introduced himself, was professional and courteous, and wore shoe covers when he entered my home. He quickly diagnosed the problem and gave me an estimate for the repair. Once I agreed to the bill, he set about the repair and finished in a timely manner, cleaning his work area when complete. I appreciate that Atomic offers a military discount, and I will be calling ATOMIC for all my future plumbing issues.
Today I received excellent customer service from Atomic Plumbing of Virginia Beach. I had a small leak in my kitchen sink's drain pipe. After years of do it your self plumbing the drain pipe was in bad shape. I knew that it would have to be redone. I was expecting it to be more expensive, but when Randy came to give me a quote it was very well priced. From now on if there is any plumbing that needs to be done around here it will be done by Atomic Plumbing of Virginia Beach.
I would like to commend the technician, Tim who responded for the service call. This man went out of his way. He was friendly and confident and he explained all that he had to do. This man worked all by himself, all day. Thank you A-1, for having this man as part of your team. He cleaned up every bit of his trash. Than you again Tim. You are an asset to this company.
. He took about 10 min trying to unscrew it with a wrench, screwdriver and hammer, as it was very tight. But he was able to do it, and snaked out the line and got the clog out. He cleaned up everything very well with a wet/dry vac and towel, and put all the furnishings back. Originally
Amazing!! Very professional and fixed the problem we had with our sink. Our sink would not drain at all. Went on the roof and tried to snake it that way and he new there was a bigger issue. Went into the crawlspace and found the problem. He is amazing at what he does. Call this guy!
I have been working with Medical Temporaries for the last four years and have had a very positive employment experience with their company. Above all they are very professional for a staffing agency and go the extra step to make you feel welcome. I would highly recommend.
Our water heater decided to break over the weekend. Monday Phil and I think Dan came and did a really nice job of putting in a new water heater for us. The city came today and inspected it all is well. We have HOT water again!
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.