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.
3826 Highway 421 N, Suite 200Wilmington, NC 28405
From Business: Founded in 1935, Watson Electrical Construction Company is one of the Southeast s leading electrical construction and service contractors. The company serves the …
2250 Shipyard Blvd Ste 1Wilmington, NC 28403
From Business: Clancy & Theys Construction Company, established in 1949, offers commercial and residential construction services. The company s areas of specialization include c…
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
In my experience Hardison building does not live up to high quality homes or service. The attention to detail is lacking and their willingness to fix repairs that are a direct result in the lack of craftsmanship is not honored. The house we bought was expensive for the size and lot size and it looked good initially until we actually lived in it. The homes they build are good for show but not to live in. Good luck of you buy one of these homes!
This guy is a contractor....period. Everything in your home will be sub-contracted with lousy rock bottom quality material. Get a real builder or buy a manufactured home! You'll be better off!
So we ended up not building with Stevens, although we spent nearly a month engaged with them attempting to build in the Willowick subdivision. Problems include selling us gas appliances without telling us that the neighborhood does not have natural gas, taking a long time to get pricing information, and reneging on a price that we signed for on a form that THEY sent us, and being pushy to use their lender and lawyer. So we put down earnest money, then we had a good visit to the design studio, during which Linda helped us pick out roughly what we wanted. Ofcourse, prices were inflated for everything from lighting fixtures to faucets, not to mention flooring and appliances, but we were prepared for that, and were willing to pay so long as we could get what we wanted, and hopefully negotiate a small discount.Anyway, after our design center visit, we had asked Linda to price out a few custom things for us, including a different dishwasher, a half-wall shower in the master, adding crown molding to the living room, and adding laminate flooring to a hallway. We asked for this on March 9, and didn’t get the answer until March 20. Fair enough, we found some of the options to be more than we wanted to pay, we selected several, and asked her to move forward with what we had selected.She sent an addendum outlining what was in the house, and it indicated a propane gas fireplace. I was expecting natural gas (we had selected a $1000 gas stove). I e-mailed for clarification, and I was told that that neighborhood didn’t have natural gas. I called Piedmont Gas to verify, and indeed it does not. Had I not noticed the word propane in the addendum, we would have moved in and our stove wouldn’t have worked, nor our fireplace. Ofcourse we would have to have a propane tank buried in the yard, but they should have told us, or we would have been surprised after we closed.When all was said and done, we had a home priced at $303,610. We e-mailed asking for $300,000, citing the cost and trouble of having our own propane tank buried. They applied a 10 percent discount to our upgrades, bringing the price to $300,284. We found this amicable, and we signed the addendum that they sent us. We were instructed to scan and e-mail the addendum to them, which we did the same day. The next day, Patrick, a sales manager, e-mailed me informing me that they refuse to honor the discount, and claimed that it was mistakenly approved and shouldn’t have been sent. He refused to honor the discount on the form that they had sent us.I found this to be a very bad sign. If you can’t trust them, you shouldn’t build with them, they know more about house building than you do, and if they are willing to pull a cheap trick like this, then they have the ability to pull a fast one during construction. We ran for the hills.
Hard workers, finished on time, and under budget. Friendly respectful staff that is knowledgeable of all renovation work. Replaced rotted wood siding/windows on my beach house. Painted exterior and looks beautiful. Highly recommended professional work done.
thanks new look home improvements for helping bring the house i bought back to life. i want to say how professional and affordable these guys are. they came in below budget and compeleted week and half early . the craftmanship they put in there work is by far past anyone else i have every used in the past. i had alot of rot damage they fix like new. i will be using new look home improvements in the summer for my sun room addition project. thanks steve thomas
I would never hire her or her roofer Charles again if I was on my death bed. He is a sleezbag and a liar
Very Professional, on time, and polite. I am very pleased with Ronald's work. He and his brother installed carpet and laminate flooring in my house in August 2013. I had 3 other companies give me quotes, all 3 people said it would take 3 days to do the job, Ronald got it done in 2 days for less money and warrantied his work. I would recommend R.S. Flooring Specialist to anyone in need of a quality flooring install.
When a company has to write positive reviews to cancel out negative reviews there's a problem. They've had there hand slapped by Yelp for posting false repetitive information. Please, before purchasing a home from Dean Hardison do your homework and be sure to search the interment for all the negative feedback. Save yourself money and heartbreak and skip over this builder.
My wife and I have eaten here a couple times and it is a great place to go for a great plate of food. Very nice wine list and great mixed drinks & beer. The food is great, goumet I will be so bold to say. I love a place that makes a great plate of food with a good atmosphere and beverages. This is that place.
Earlier this year, I saw Treadlite doing a roof in my area and thought if I needed a roof I would call them. When the hail hit , i called them immediately and never regretted it. They did a great job. Chris Starling went to the insurance company two times and got more money. I am real proud of my roof and other people have asked who did such a professional job. I recommend them without reservation.
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.