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I think this is a great article.
However some of this posts are really cracking me up.
theamazingmamu your post is plain ridiculous and I would not take away from fact that you probably hired illegals.
Concrete is 200$ a yard where I am. I am sure in States it would not be cheaper than 80$ a yard so your "unemlpoyed guys" were working for soup money not to mention that they probably did not possess necessary licensing or other paperwork.
Instead of asking for answers on why nobody came back, how about asking yourself why they did not come back?
Maybe its because they realised that with budget you had there is no money to be made and real craftsmen did not want to waste your or their time.
Also, a lot of people who compete on construction market are there because they did not go to college. I have a guy, who can't spell without making a mistake in a sentence, but he is amazing at what he does. You should not be berating someone, because your spelling is better than theirs; mainly because you have no idea where they come from or how their life experiences may be different from yours.
True, its contractors responsibility to make themselves available for your project, however if you expect someone to do something that costs 3000$ for 1500$ and expect them not to find something else and do your job as void filler, you are highly mistaken.
As a skilled craftsmen I would want to be paid 350-500 dollars a day and as company owner I am making double that when my crew is on the job.
If your budget is 1500$ and I like you as a person and I want your job, after my expenses I won't be making much, therefore I would have to inevitibly book someone else in in order to make my profit margins. Either that, or I cant provide you with my services. Just some food for thought.
All and all I wish you good luck and I hope you tone down your attitude next time you are offering somebody a job. And hey, I hope that sidewalk does not crack a year down the road.
the part about writing a contract saying what you want is wrong though, its not a contract. that would be called job specifications. often times the architect will include that info on the drawings. otherwise it is a great idea for the home owner to have a document listing out different items if they know what they want before getting bids so they are all bidding the same materials.
the problem is most home owners have no idea what they want when the job starts so that part is almost always a budget number at first.
A good tip, ask you contractor where they can go to look at plumbing fixtures and light fixtures. if the contractor is good they will have working relationships with suppliers that will work with the customers and help them pick fixtures
My experience with hiring a contractor is very limited, and it wasn't a good experience. The city came by and said that the sidewalk needed to be replaced and we had until September to replace it, so I called concrete contractors, the conversation went something like so:
"Hi, my name is XXXXXXX. I live in XXXXXXX, the city says I need to replace part of my sidewalk. Do you do that kind of work?"
If they said no, I thanked them for their time and hung up. I called about 10-12 contractors, 2 said they only did commerical. The rest said that they did that kind of work and would be glad to come out and give me an estimate. I made appointments with them for specific times and days - A HUGE WASTE OF MY TIME. Out of the eight that promised to come out two showed up, took measurements and said they'd get back to me. I never heard from them again (I gave my land-line, my cell-phone, my husband's cell-phone, all have voicemail, and my email address). I ended up hiring two unemployed guys. It took them two days, one to remove the old concrete and one to put the new concrete in, I think it was about 3-4 yards of concrete - so not a huge job - they made $1500.
So, yeah - and this is a story that is repeated over and over and over and over and over. I have many friends and peers that have had the same experience. So all of you contractors that think you are so wonderful - defend wasting people's time. If you don't want the job then say so when they want to make an appointment with you - on the phone. Is it some kind of power thing - hahahah I can make people waste their time. If you make an appointment - show up, or at the very least call.
Additionally, I would never hire many of you that posted simply because you care more about money than your craft. I don't mind paying for what I ask for, but I also want you to pay attention to my project and get it done. When I hire you, it is YOUR JOB to complete what we contracted for- it should be your one and only job for that time period. I understand if something happens beyond your control, it may be late, but then we need to talk about expectations on when it will be done. It does not give you the opportunity to go out and contract more jobs to fill the void, because then you will probably not come back. It is not my problem if you have contracted too many jobs - that's your problem and you need to work it out.
Also, take some grammar lessons and learn the difference between your and your're, and then and than. I would never hire anyone who didn't possess basic grammar skills because it tells me how much you value education and training. It also tells me how much you value attention to detail.
As an example: (education and training) It's great that you know to glue the pvc for the plumbing, but (attention to detail) if you make a huge mess and leave massive dried globs of it on the floor.........
Your - means that you own something - That is your book.
You're - means you are - If you want a good contactor you're going to have to pay for it.
Than - it's a conjunction - I like this marble better than that one.
Then - it's either a noun, adverb or adjective depending on how it's used. It is normally used as an adverb indicating a sequence of events - Please paint the ceiling then the walls.
I would burn my house down before allowing Mr. Jason Dulap-Granger to come anywhere near my state. You sir are a pretentious jerk. All you care about is money - sue this and sue that - really. How about mediation? Laws are there to protect both the contractor and the contractee.
First and most important ... put EVERYTHING in writing.
Except for materials NEVER pay up front.
Third, get signed 'waviers of lein' on the completion of each stage.
Last, hold the final payment until EVERYTHING .... repeat ... EVERYTHING is completed to satisfaction.
Good luck .... and God bless.
I'm a licensed professional engineer and a construction administrator for commerical projects. I also own a private practice designing residential projects. As a design professional, I agree with this article in full. I can go on for days talking about this subject. As a design professional, I have to give my side of this discussion and recommend that prior to talking to a contractor, which there are very good ones and very bad ones, I first suggest any homeowner to speak with their local building official. These officials are there for your safety and to ensure the project is built to code. By speaking with them first, you will have their interest in the project from the beginning and they will tend to be more helpful.
The second recommendation is to hire a design professional that is knowledgeable in residential construction and the local building code. The advantage of hiring a design professional is that we represent you and what you want in your project. The big advantage of hiring a design professional and paying to have professionally prepared plans, is that your contractors can bid apples to apples as this article has alluded to. Without a set of plans, you cannot properly compare bids. The last advantage is that you'll obtain a building permit much easier by having the plans properly prepared. But don't pick just any designer. There are people out there that can you computer aided drafting software (CAD) but don't know the building code or construction.
If you're a homeowner that is comfortable with contractors and construction, then by all means oversee the construction (with a building permit of course) yourself. If not, I strongly encourage you to hire your design professional to provide you construction oversight during the construction process. Yes you are going to pay for it, but he or she will ensure that you are getting the project constructed properly and not getting taken for a ride by the contractor. The cost is minor compared to the construction cost but the value is well worth it. This isn't assuming all contractor's are bad because I have many good contractors on my team of people that I recommend. I provide all my clients with construction services if necessary. I tell them to think of me as their lawyer in construction. I'm there to represent them and protect them and their investment.
Good luck! Great article.
I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY A PERSON OR PERSONS WOULD HIRE AN OUT OF COUNTY CONTRACTOR AND EITHER GET THE PERMIT FOR THEM OR ASK TO SEE THE PERMIT THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE HUNG IN THEIR WINDOW OR DOORWAY?
WHY DO THEY GIVE MONEY UP FRONT BEFORE THE JOB EVEN STARTS TO BUY MATERIAL?
I HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 30+ YEARS AND I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT 90% OF MY JOBS ARE PAID FOR WHEN THE JOB IS COMPLETED.WE AT CWC MASONRY LLC HAVE PLENTY OF CREDIT AND WE BUY 95 % OF OUR MATERIAL FROM LOCAL BUSINESS, WE BELIVE THAT WE MAKE IT HERE, WE SPEND IT HERE. IF THERE IS A PROBLEM IT IS SO EASY TO TAKE CARE OF, WE HAVE DEALT WITH OUR MATERIAL CARRIERS FOR AS LONG AS WE HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS.
WE DON'T LIKE BIG MATERIAL STORES WE CAN TELL YOU UP FRONT THAT OUR MATERIAL COMES FROM MERSHON CONCRETE, HEATH LUMBER,GRAINGERS,HOUSE OF TILE.YARDVILLE SUPPLY ,TIMOTHY'S ,CATHEDREAL STONE,DELAWARE VALLY QUARRIES ,LUCISANO BROTHERS,TRENTON BLOCK.
WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS, AS FIFTH GENERATION MASONS WE CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE WORK FOR WE DON'T HIDE WHEN WE SEE THEM IN A STORE OR AT THE FAIR.
JUST USE COMMON SENCE IF YOU GET A PERMIT YOU JUST LOST YOUR RIGHTS BECAUSE THE TOWNSHIP WILL SAY YOU PULLED THE PERMIT AND WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL THE TWP BEFORE YOU INTERVIEWED THE CONTRACTORS. THEY WILL ALWAYS GIVE A LEAST THREE NAMES OR HAVE A LIST OF QUALIFIED CONTRACTORS WHO’S WORK THEY HAVE SEEN AND APROVED.
WE AT CWC MASONRY LLC WANT TO GET PERMITS NOT JUST BECAUSE IT SOUNDS GOOD BUT BY DOING WHAT EACH COUNTY WANTS, THEY TELL THE CUSTOMERS THE JOB WAS DONE CORRECTLY.
-CWC MASONRY LLC
I am general contractor. It is somewhat simple, or should be anyways: As a homewoner, you should check out everything about me and I expect you to, if something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, its a duck. Not all projects need a licensed contractor or permits, but I strongly believe all contractors should be licensed and insured and able to get their own permits. Appearance means alot as well, if the contractor is not responsible enough to take care of him (or her) self, they probably aren't going to take care of your project either. If you don't do your homework and get burned, please don't assume all contractors are bad, you need to take responsibility as well.
Get a signed contract by both sides before anything starts. I will not start a project without a contract, and I do normally require money down, but I will allow a customer to buy certain materials up front to establish trust if needed with no money down directly to me. Materials are marked up, I do not deliver material or give my time out for free, and please do not expect me to. I am also no one's bank and please do not ask me to be. In contract a down payment and progress payments are all laid out and agreed upon, so no surprises. Insist on a detailed estimate from all bidders, if someone will not give you one, DO NOT HIRE them. And please understand it is an estimate, and if there are changes during project, they need to be in writing and price will be adjusted accordingly. If I don't perform, I don't get paid. If you don't pay, I leave, and courts get involved. I usually refuse to work for family, or if I do I do not charge for my time, and they buy material and pay any subs. Keep it business-like throughout project, if you want to have beers do it when project is done.
Writing the specifications for new or re model construction is probably the most important aspect in building.
You cannot get an equal quote or bid, without specs and submittals, even down to how many nails or screws you require in a sheet of plywood.
The omission of this information will lead to- "You never told us that", over and over again.
Don't trust anyone. They are all out to make as much money as they can.
Captain Caveman is very accurate in that I often decide I don't want to work with someone. I had a few nightmare clients in my younger days and learned that lesson well. And if I get fooled and take on a project that turns out to be a pain (one recently where the husband hired me but the wife was not sane) I record EVERYTHING! Check your state laws but where I live if one party to a conversation knows it is being recorded, it's legal. And it has saved me a lot of aggravation.
Jason Dunlap is wrong on pretty much every level. My clients volunteer to reference for me. All material quotes are valid for 30 days (real contractor would know that Jason) so the manufacturer CAN'T raise the price without warning. Etc. And you are a 'union contractor'? Uhm, No. Since there is no such thing. You sound like a union laborer since you make it clear that you would do the work on your schedule and charge what you wanted (meaning you would never actually get a contract, lol). No one around here would hire you or your union buddies. Here's why (other than you want 5 times what you are worth) When I have to shut down a street to get something done, I am on a TIGHT time frame. I have no use for someone that has to take their breaks or lunch at a specific time regardless of what we are in the middle of. When we are restoring basic infrastructure after a storm, we go till we can't, sleep in the trucks and go some more. Yes, my employees make a lot of money doing that. But after a day or two you aren't thinking about the money. It's the relief you see on a woman's face when she has power again and she knows her husbands medical equipment will keep running. Things like that that keep you going. Things you greedy union punks would never understand. So next time you go all high and mighty while posting things that show you have no clue, just don't
It's sad in this day and age of technology how far "craftsmen" have declined. This article just lowers the standards even further. I mean I have never met a contractor worth his salt who has his laptop with plans on site in the home during the construction. Personally, I wouldn't want sawdust in my laptop. Then again, I have over 30 years as a GC and I have never worn a tie to the site either. Guess as a master joiner I probably have too much experience.
An architect who shows up on the job in a suit and tie? That's a good one. Even architects, when they do lower themselves to come out to the site, don't want to get mud and dust on their suit. Oddly enough though, these are what seems to be the "trending" of building. No longer are the days when the word of mouth reputation about the quality of someone's work is the norm. Now, you have to have the shiniest ad placement to even hear a phone call unless you are well established like myself.
Problem with furthering the homeowner's lack of knowledge with articles such as this is that they often come to you with these types of advertisements and information from places like here and Home Depot and suddenly they are "master of construction". This is one of those instances where I don't agree the "customer is always right". I do think we need to protect the consumer in building by all means and agree that written documentation of responsibilities laid out in the contract on both sides is important. I believe it should be mandatory for all states to have licensing and regulatory boards under the Consumer's Affairs Division to prevent instances of fraud and negligent contracting. Until that happens, building contractors are simply at the whim of the best advertiser. I don't feel that you should have consumers trying to manage construction projects based on faulty information.
Anyone who has had a bad construction project deserves a better class of contracting organization in her/his state. No couple should have to add insult to injury in a remodeling project by having to hassle out with a contractor to clean up their worksite each day along with the stress of managing their homelife during a kitchen remodel. Anyone who is contemplating a remodel or construction project needs to watch the movie "Money Pit" and they will probably run off screaming.
I think we need a grip on reality here people and learn one basic lesson: Get references!!
Just like the guy with the hair and burned out wire, but not black in his eye socket, this looks like a dog an pony show.
Contractors mostly think they are the authority, not you, they treat most people like Face Book image--which is usually limited to color of the finger nail polish!--the rest they change you to believe what is easiest for them, to make money on in 75-90 % of all cases.
As a contractor I would not do business with anyone that put in the contract discounts for delay of the project or for it not being done on time. Also as a contractor if there were delays due to change orders, venders not delivering materials on time or we were waiting for approval from the inspectors, I would sue you for unreasonable expectations. Contractors do not have control over the venders, manufacturers, inspectors. These entities work on their own schedule and they don't really care about yours or our schedules!. Ever tried to sue a manufacturer for being late? Try it you won't win! They have clauses in their purchase orders to block this! Also, Manufacturers are known to raise their prices without notification and you are expected to pick up the difference or they will cancel your order. Once again in the purchase orders there are clauses that protect them and allow for this! Good luck in trying to sue them! You won't win! Try suing the county/city because they can't get an inspector out to you fast enough. HAHAHAHAHA!
Last, I have never heard of a individual home owner suing a county/city inspection office because the inspector made a mistake and getting money from the county/city. By reporting the incident the inspector might lose his job (doubtful) but, you're not recouping anything from the county/city. The best you can do is report the incident to the Inspector General for possible criminal activity. To win anything like suing a county, city or state you would have to file a class action suit with your neighbors. Good luck with that!
I'm sorry but, this article does give some bad advice!
First of all I have been in the trades for 22 years. I do high end homes and middle class homes. NONE OF MY PREVIOUS CLIENTS WOULD WANT YOU TO CALL THEM ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH ME! If you want a good contractor check to see if they are with the Better Business Bureau or if they are on Angie's List ETC. You will get a better idea of who you are dealing with. Better yet go to these web sites to find them!
Second, if you want specific manufacturers and venders for your project you should state this to the contractors.
Third, as a contractor (working with the middle class) I know that in remodeling you don't know what you are getting into until you start doing the work. Expect delays and changes do to the current construction. With this in mind plan for delays and changes. Make sure you have enough money to cover the changes. Allow enough time to do the project. Don't start doing the work right before someone's coming to visit. I guarantee something will happen that will delay the project. I have never been in a project that went smoothly without hiccups. This includes new construction.
Most people don't have blue prints of their home. They don't have specifications either. Most people can't afford to have plans and specs drawn up or know where to get the originals. Believe me if I have to do that kind of research the homeowners are paying for that time, gas, etc.
Fourth, I have never been in a contract where the people chose my company because of experience or the materials I used. It has always been about cost.
Fifth, Most "good" contractors know where to get quality less expensive materials by going to their venders for pricing. For generic stuff like wood, drywall, plumbing materials and electrical material etc. Its best to let the contractor get what he wants. If you want something specific I recommend you either buy it yourself and provide it to the contractor or tell them where you found it and he can buy it.
Sixth, If you change things half way thru the project and want to do something different especially more complicated expect to pay more. Contractors are out to make money. Not lose money. So if you want them to do something for free expect trouble. I have sued and won against home owners who have tried to do this. Nothing like making $15,000.00 on a $6,000.00 job because the homeowners didn't want to pay for the installation of a high end shower stall that reheats water has a massage wall on 2 sides instead of a standard bathtub/shower configuration. I have also been sued where the people ran out of money when they made changes or when we found out what would have to be done to get the job done correctly and won. (of course there was a counter suit by me to recoup my losses.) Funny how they have money to sue but, not enough to pay a contractor to do a job correctly.
Seventh, for basic home remodeling its not required to have a license. If you are replacing like for like materials you don't need a permit for most jobs. Also, in the 22 years I have done residential remodeling or handyman work. I think I have pulled 4 permits. 3 for complete rewiring of the homes and 1 for installing a bathroom in a basement. If you want licenses and permits expect to pay more. A LOT MORE! For instance recently I went to a home to change out a kitchen ceiling light. The licensed electrician wanted $268.00 for the 20 minute install. As a handy man I installed it for $64.00.
Last, it doesn't matter if they are licensed or not. You can still get a crooked, alcoholic, drug using jerk that messes up your home.