Monday, December 16, 2013

Tips to Avoid Bad General Contractors

The majority of the clients that we come in and visit are looking to get a project done "yesterday". Unfortunately especially regarding your home or commercial building, you need to make sure that the t's are crossed and the i's dotted. What I mean by making sure you cover all your bases is that not all general contractors come in the same shape size or price point. Not all expensively priced projects are going to come out the best, and not all of the cheapest projects will come out the worst. Here are some quick tips you should do when coming across a general contractor for your building project.

Tips working with a general contractor: 

  • Showing up
    •  That normally means throughout the entire project not just the day you sign the papers to begin the project. Tardiness should not be a common thing for contractors but also make sure that you are at home at the time of all of the appointments. This courtesy swings on both ends so please make sure you follow through with your word as well. This comes especially important if you need  to give the contractor the keys to gain access to the part of the building needed to begin or continue a project. There are countless of times where the homeowner leaves the house before assisting the team with access to the facility to begin work. Knowing ahead of time eliminates any headaches and speeds the renovation process
  • Payment Plans
    • Never accept a 100% full payment upfront unless you already have trust with the contractor. Normally some contractors depending on the project will require 10-70% upfront. The payment plan should be discussed prior and written in writing so that there are no surprises further down the road.
  • Estimated Budget  
    • You have to go over some aspect of the estimated budget as such; types of materials (affordable, medium priced, or high end quality pricing). These all effect the pricing of the estimate as well as if you decide to buy your materials yourself as well. If you decide that you would like to have more of a higher cost of tile, cabinets, fixtures etc., please keep in mind that this will raise the estimated budget due to these changes. Even though labor is usually a fixed cost unless there are building surprises (such as repairs needed etc. ) the material cost will be the most variable cost because high end products can range up to 60% above the average costs of materials. Those aspects are not the fault of the contractor however discussing and putting these details on paper will eliminate any guess work ahead of time.
  • Guarantees
    • Please take the time to ask and have on paper the labor guarantee of the work performed for your project. Some contractors do not offer guarantees however some do (we have a  1 year guarantee)
    • Material Guarantees are SEPERATE from labor guarantees - Most products do come with guarantees (especially the high cost / dependent ones). Please make sure to ask the contractor team to give  you all of the receipts and paperwork dealt with the warranties and guarantees associated with all of the new products especially if they are in charge of the purchasing the materials 
  • Rushed Projects 
    • Rushed projects are never a good idea. Have you ever tried rushing something and the quality never coming out the best?? Well you wouldn't that happening to crucial elements such as plumbing or electrical.  Keeping projects on schedule make sure to: pay on agreed schedules, provide materials as soon as possible if you agree that you want to purchase materials separately, keep in communication with the director of the project for any decisions needing to be made, attend scheduled appointments, get all of the contracts & permits a head of time, and ask any questions that you may have so that there is no assumptions when it comes to the work being produced. If you act a prominent role in your renovation project, the process will go a whole lot smoother. If the contractor is not producing the work that they have promised, then it may be a good idea to bring your concerns to the company or if the issue is not resolved try to find other estimates available to complete the project.


I hope these tips help! These are some of the questions that we come across when we are  at appointments, renovation projects  and so forth. If you are nearby the Northern NJ area don't hesitate to give us a call 201-726-2846 for a free estimate. 

Happy Holidays !

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