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.
There are a few easy ways to determine what size and type of HVAC you require.
There are several important decisions you'll have to make amidst any construction project. One of them is how to supply heat and a…
Above and Beyond does good work.I had my 20 year old furnace fail last week and I found them by Craigslist looking for someone I hoped would patch it up and make it through the rest of the winter. The repair cost was more then I was wanting to put into an old unit, I declined the repair, paid the service charge and they priced me 2 options of replacement units. I am not one to quickly spend money and it took me a week of no furnace in the winter to go ahead with the replacement. They installed the new unit professionally and I am happy with the finished job. Will recommend them to others.Along with properly installing the unit a few other things they did well that I noticed and liked.They made a total of 3 visits to my house and they were on time. Tardiness is my biggest pet peeve in life and they are punctual.2. I do not spend a measurable amount of money without thinking about it. Martin was not pushy at all. He provided the cost for the furnace and let me be to absorb it. 3. They cleaned up after themselves. I noticed the drop cloths on the stairs and hallway floor and when they asked me for a broom to sweep the installation spot I was pleased.
After our air conditioner finally went out I called and emailed several places that dealt with Trane and American Standard because according to the current Consumer Report they were rated the best. They are made in the same plant so for the the most part they are the same machine. I read over and over how important it was to choose and installer wisely, which is why we went with Dan's. Wayne was our consultant and he was excellent. We must have called him twenty times or so within a matter of a few days as we were trying to decide which combination of equipment to go with. They came out to do the install and were quick, clean and efficient. They didn't even my mind my three year son who stood at the door to ask questions.:) Wayne both called and stopped by to check on us after the install. The county inspector said everything looked great. We are happy with the system and will recommend them to all of our friends.
After 21 years, it was time for a new furnace/air conditioner/condenser/line set/thermostat (the works!). There was only one company here in Wichita to call.....Kelley and Dawson Service! One call and Roger Lowenstein was at my door. After a detailed review, equipment was ordered. Professional Service Techs Steve and Rob arrived promptly at 9 AM on installation day. They made quick work of removing the old Coleman system and installing my new Trane Equipment. Both gentlemen were extremely knowledgeable, professional and polite. They cared for my carpets and tile by laying protective cloth. In less than six hours the new system was up and running. I could not be more pleased. All the warranty paperwork was processed by Kelley and Dawson staff. After five weeks we continue to be delighted and toasty warm! Thanks again for a terrific job!Dave Beranek, East Wichita
I can't recommend Nelsen Construction highly enough. Through some strange circumstances we ended up becoming land lords and renting out our house in Wichita. Trying to manage repairs from Texas had proved very difficult until I was introduced to David. He did a great job managing a fairly complex repair that I needed done. The price was reasonable and the team he had there doing the work was great. I actually got an email from my tenant praising the work they did and saying how thoughtful and polite David and the team were while they were there. On the back office side, Daria was wonderful. She was good at keeping me apprised of what was going on and the billing was incredibly smooth. I will absolutely use them whenever I have any issues from here on out.
It was on a Saturday afternoon when the blower fan burned out om my AC. I Googled repair services in my area and most of them were closed. I called Above & Beyond and the repairman was here in about an hour. The only extra charge for it being on the weekend was for the part because they have to pay the supplier to open on weekends. The repairman worked quickly and appeared to know exactly what he was doing. The bill came to about what I figured it would. I have dealt with big name repair companies and they often have a waiting list for days. There are some repairs I would do myself since I am an ASE certified in automotive AC but when I saw how many connections there was for this I am glad that I didn't attempt it. One crossed wire could fry the computer board.
My AC needed replaced. I called Martin and he was able to come out the same day to take a look at it. He recommended a full replacement, as the condenser was totally corroded.I had him replace the whole unit. He was able to get it replaced the very next day. I was happy with the result. It has been over a week and already so much cooler.He was about 1 hour late getting started, but he did call me to let me know he was running behind.
I'm so glad I called them to come instead of anyone else. Our furnace broke the day it snowed and we were without heat for awhile. Within 15-20 minutes they had it fixed. The TOTAL cost for us was $80 and usually other companies charge $80 just to come out and look at it. I would recommend them to anyone and will be using their services from now on.
First class service! The technician arrived on time and was very courteous. He advised me on what he believed was the issue and performed a maintenance that resolved my issue. He advised me on a failing component during the maintenance. He didn't pressure me on any services and did not try to up sell me. I will be a long term customer of Dan's H/C.
Chris came out & gave us a price for a new furnace, which was lower than othebusinesses around town without using a coupon. Then worked extra hard to have it installed that day. They were quick, professional, efficient and very friendly. Definitely will be using them in the future.
After having an issue with pricing, I received a call from the General Manager and he offered to make things right. After his Install manager came by to inspect the work and got me going, I was very satisfied. They went above and beyond and I will do business with them in the future.
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.