Reasons To Hire a Professional Plumber for Your Project

Reasons To Hire a Professional Plumber for Your Project

Pipe and plumbing problems in commercial buildings impact revenue. These are the best reasons to hire a professional plumber for your project.

Whether you run a restaurant or manage a property, you have pipes and water systems that need maintenance from time to time. While you can try the DIY approach, it is not always the best option. Here are the best reasons to hire a professional plumber for your project.

Save Time and Energy

First and foremost is the wasted time and energy on your end. A professional plumber has the training, credentials, and experience to handle problems quickly and plan a solution. Anyone handling the situation with an untrained eye will more than likely spend several hours researching their problem before acting. This educational back and forth will waste time and expend energy that you could spend on business-related items. If you want to keep plumbing problems from growing into monstrous headaches, you should use a professional plumber to give you peace of mind.

Receive Long-Term Support

When you address a plumbing issue yourself, you are responsible for following up and keeping tabs on it over time. Should your solution fail a week down the road, you will need to repair the plumbing again. Avoid these future risks with a professional plumbing service. A dedicated business will always be available to field your questions and help you problem-solve issues in the weeks to come.

Local and Available

Hiring a professional may sound like it involves extra work and scheduling people far in advance, but most plumbers are local and available. In fact, you can’t do much better than 24-hour local plumbers. These quick responders have the necessary tools and parts to finish a job or know how to acquire them. As a business manager, you know the importance of a quick fix, so utilize the fastest solution—a professional plumber.

There are many reasons to hire a professional plumber for your project, so make sure you have one on speed dial should a problem occur. Support other local businesses and handle your issues efficiently with a plumbing service. If you have any plumbing emergencies or maintenance needs, reach out to us at Bucks Plumbing today.

Benefits of Using Professional Plumbing Services

Professional Plumbing Services

The plumbing system is one of the most significant components of any building structure; it always extends throughout the structure, from the living room to the bedroom; from the kitchen to the bathrooms; and even to the foundations thus a minor issue in any of the part joined may cause severe plumbing problems and may require emergency plumbing repair.

When it comes to pipes, the drainage system is one of the most crucial components. This is the system that allows water to leave the house after it has been utilized. The majority of homes should have a gravity-powered drainage system built-in. As a result, the drainage system’s design will affect how well your plumbing system functions. Pipes in places like the bathroom, for example, should be constructed in such a way that water flows naturally and does not create an emergency that stuck you in between, leaving no option to hire a professional plumbing expert.

Plumbing Problems and Professional Plumbing Services

There are a few basic things you can do to keep your drain pipes from clogging up too quickly. The majority of plumbing problems begin in the kitchen or bathroom. They begin in the kitchen, where most individuals do not have garbage bags by their side when washing their dishes, causing obstructions by dumping too much residue into the sink. Hairpieces, tissues, and other everyday materials, on the other hand, lead to drainage system clogs in the bathroom.

Enlisting the services of a professional plumbing company that has extensive experience in general plumbing work and understands the specific plumbing system for your building is the best approach to maintain and repair your plumbing system.

When a drain is clogged, it’s critical that your plumber responds quickly to your call so that the problem may be fixed before it does further harm to the structure. Professional plumbing services employ cutting-edge technology to detect any drainage issues that may emerge. When finding clogs, some numbers can harm or cause more plumbing difficulties; therefore, this is critical. Professional plumbers will also make certain that the source of the obstruction is identified and treated, rather than simply treating the symptoms.

When dealing with a weather-related drainage obstruction, which can be caused by a large volume of water from storms and an accumulation of leaves, a professional plumbing service can make use of high-tech equipment that will allow them to handle the problem without causing further damage. Leaks in the building and unnecessary structural damage.

Another major advantage of using professional plumbing services rather than a free launcher is that they will be able to utilize genuine replacement components, which will provide you with peace of mind regarding the condition of your plumbing and drainage system.

Need Professional Plumbing Service in Florida?

If you are looking for professional plumbing services in Florida or any other region in USA, give us a quick call. We offer fast & reliable plumbing services in both residential and commercial premises. Our plumbing experts are all professional and equipped with professional tools to meet 24-hour plumbing repair service in Florida. Do not look further when we are only a step ahead from you. Fast & Reliable Plumbing Services is our first priority. Contact us now.

BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL PLUMBER

DIY Plumbing

Need a plumbing repair? Whether it is as simple as a clogged pipe, or as potentially complicated and sensitive as a sewer repair, you should consider hiring a professional plumber.  There are many advantages to hiring a plumber for repairs or new plumbing installations. Sarasota Plumbing  shares five:

1. Professional plumbers have the experience.

The journeymen Red Seal plumbers at Weizer Plumbing are trained, skilled and they have years of experience in this line of work. This allows them to easily understand and fix the problem immediately. Hiring an experienced plumber means they’ll take care of everything from materials, trouble-shooting, repairs and installation.

2. They have the right tools and supplies.

Licensed plumbers will have the tools and supplies required to ensure your new plumbing will be installed efficiently and correctly.  If there’s a major problem with your current plumbing system, they’ll know what to do and have what they need on hand to do it immediately, saving you the headache of a DIY plumbing attempt and multiple trips to the hardware store for tools and supplies.

3. Plumbers are familiar with plumbing & building codes.

Weizer Plumbing is familiar with plumbing and building codes, ensuring your repairs and new installations are in compliance with regulations.  Hiring an unlicensed handyman or attempting to do the job yourself could result in issues in major issues down the road. This might give you problems when trying to sell your home.

4. The pros are more efficient that do-it-yourselfers.

A plumber can create a plan for the entire job. Their expertise includes roughing in lines, fixtures and faucets of your bathroom or kitchen project.  Since they already have the right tools, supplies and expertise for the job, you can be sure they will complete it correctly and way more efficiently than someone trying to learn as they go. Do-it-youselfers could find themselves over their heads. You might end up spending more time and money in the end or worse, standing in a flooded basement in the midst of a plumbing emergency!

5. They are good are problem solvers.

The pros at Bucks Plumbing can easily trouble shoot and fix the issue, knowing what to do to prevent further issues in the future.  You can view a plumbing tutorial online, but that won’t account for “what to do if it all goes wrong”.  A an experienced plumber will avoid costly mistakes and if something goes wrong, they will know what to do.

Plumbers in Edmonton

Bucks Plumbing has one goal – to be the professional plumbers you or your business call on for your plumbing needs, year after year. Their journeymen Red Seal plumbers make sure that happens with prompt, efficient and expert service. Weizer Plumbing has a family-owned and family-first way of doing business. It’s another reason you’ll want to hire them. They understand urgency and will do the best job possible to impress you by getting it done right and on time.

The Most Common Reasons Why You Should Hire A Plumber

The Most Common Reasons Why You Should Hire A Plumber

It may not be necessary to hire a professional to handle every home repair. Some are relatively simple and can be handled on a do-it-yourself basis. However, plumbing problems are a special case. While they may seem simple on the surface, they are often among the most complicated home repair issues. Your amateur attempts may negatively affect the entire system. Here are some specific reasons why you should contact plumbing services in rather than trying to fix the problems yourself.

1. Keeping Water Clean

Some plumbing issues can contaminate the water that comes out of the faucet. The contamination is not always visible. You may take care of the problem you can see, but the water may still be dirty as a result. Hiring a plumber helps to ensure that the repair is complete and the water remains clean.

2. Making Sure Plumbing Codes Are Observed

You may not even be aware that governments at the local, state, and national levels impose codes on plumbing work. However, if your DIY repair is not up to code, it could affect the resale value of your home. Professional plumbers are familiar with these codes and will make sure the repair is compliant.

3. Saving Money

People usually undertake DIY repairs in the interest of saving money. However, trying to make your own plumbing repairs could end up costing you more in the long run. For example, if you do not repair a leak correctly, or miss it altogether as you are doing repairs, the loss of water due to the leak could significantly increase your water bill. Not only that, but a botched DIY repair could lead to even bigger plumbing issues that you have no choice but to hire a professional to handle.

4. Getting the Latest Equipment

Like most other forms of technology, plumbing equipment has seen significant advancements over the past few decades. Plumbers are early adopters of the most advanced equipment, which means faster repairs.

5. Ensuring Safety

Attempting to perform your own plumbing repairs could expose you to safety risks. Scalding hot water coming in contact with your skin or attempts to lift and carry heavy pipes could result in an injury. Another safety hazard associated with plumbing repairs is the force of the water, which you may not be able to control. You can avoid such hazards entirely when you hire a professional plumber, who is trained to manage these risks effectively.

6. Protecting Your Property

Because plumbing problems are complicated, you may inadvertently put your property at risk for further damage when you attempt the repair yourself. Professional plumbers are trained to avoid accidental damage to your property, and if something does go wrong, they will acknowledge it and make it right. On the other hand, if you inadvertently cause damage to your property while attempting plumbing repairs, it is entirely your responsibility.

7. Keeping Clean

Plumbing can be a messy job, especially if it involves raw sewage or old pipes. You may think that you can handle it, but you may underestimate how messy the job will become. Professional plumbers have no qualms about the mess, and once the job is complete, they will clean up afterward so that you do not have to deal with it at all.

Why You Should Choose plumbing service is Bucks Plumbing ?

Our professionals are prepared to handle all plumbing jobs. Whether the job is large or small, we will ensure the highest quality. We take pride in being helpful, friendly, and providing amazing customer service. Plumbing is one service that we provide, but whatever job you need to be done around the home, we can handle it for you. Check out all the repair and remodeling services we provide.

 

How to Find a Good Plumber

hands fixing plumbing

Whether you are a frequent DIY-er or prefer the hands-off approach, at some point, every homeowner will need to hire a professional to handle or assist with repairs. For many of us, that time comes when a plumbing issue arises. The plumbing system in your home is complex. If it is not working properly, you risk being without clean water or creating water damage issues. Having a great plumber on call is essential. So let’s talk about where to find one, and what questions to ask when you do.

First Things First

What kind of plumber do you need? Not all plumbers are created equal—many specialize in a specific type of project. Some base their business on service calls (think snaking a drain or unclogging a toilet) while others prefer to install new plumbing as you would need in a remodeling job. In almost every state, plumbers require a specialty license and have different designations based on their amount of experience. Master plumbers and journeyman plumbers have the most experience. It is most common for master plumbers to own the business, while journeymen typically work in the business. Make sure to look for the right type of plumber for your project.

What Do Good Plumbers Have in Common?

While plumbers vary by specialty and experience, most good tradespeople do have a few things in common.

License and Insurance

Being properly licensed and insured protects both the homeowner and the plumber’s business. A plumber who is serious about the longevity of their business will make sure to operate only while properly licensed and fully insured. Ask for insurance certificates, and call the agency to verify that the policies are enforced. Your state website will have information on whether your potential plumber is licensed.

Warranty

Good tradespeople take pride in their work and will stand behind it. Your plumber should be familiar with what the manufacturer warranty is on anything they install and should back it up with an additional workmanship warranty. The workmanship warranty will vary by project.

References

Ask your potential plumber for references from recent projects. Of course, they will be giving you the names of customers who adore them, but you should still call. Ask these questions: What kind of project did plumber X do for you? Did the company communicate as expected? Would you hire plumber X again? The answers to those questions will give you a great idea if you are working with a professional company that values your business.

Association or Community Involvement

This is often overlooked but vital. Small businesses need the support of their communities to survive for the long haul. Look for companies that are members of trade associations, such as the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association), or the ICC (International Code Council), or Community groups such as your local BBB or Chambers of Commerce, sponsoring school events, little league teams and community fundraisers are also a great sign. When a business invests in the community, they are more likely to have earned their reputation through hard work, rather than purchasing it through slick advertising.

Soft Skills

Were they polite on the phone and in person? Did they respect your home, take off their shoes, park in the proper place? If they take the time to pay attention to the little details in your initial interactions, you can bet that will carry through the work you hire them to do.

Best Places to Look

Everything you could possibly need is just a quick internet search away, right? But the companies who show up on top aren’t always the best—they are just savvy digital marketers. A company can certainly be great a digital marketing and at plumbing.

The very best way to find a good plumber is to get a personal referral from family and friends that you trust. Almost as good is a neighborhood Facebook page or Nextdoor group. Online referral sources such as HomeAdvisor can also be valuable, just remember you will need to verify their vetting process and use a little more caution. Finally, print ads or TV ads can certainly make you aware of a company, but a big advertising budget isn’t always a sign of quality, and those ad dollars have to come from somewhere, so the pricing is most likely a bit higher than a contractor whose business comes only from word of mouth referrals.

The Right Plumber for the Job

You’ve combed through all of the sources, and are ready to call a few plumbers about your project. It’s on you to be prepared and to decide what is important to you! It is not necessary to call on nine to 10 companies—pick two to four that you feel meet your requirements, If you are disappointed after the first round of calls, then repeat with two to four more.

Ask every plumber the same set of questions and compare their answers before making a decision. You add your own, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Do you specialize in service or installation?
  • Have you done this type of project before?
  • Will you guarantee the work?
  • Does this require a permit?
  • What Associations or Community Groups do you participate in?
  • How long will this project take (approximately)?
  • Will I be notified if the project will take longer or cost more?

Communication

When you find a good plumber, communication is still key to a successful project. Do your best to clearly communicate expectations, budget, modifications, and concerns before, during, and after the project. Every project has a potential for surprises or mistakes, proper communication will help your project be as smooth as it can be.

Tips On Hiring the Right Plumbing Contractor for Your Home Renovation

plumber

Whether you need a new water heater or bathroom sink and toilet, it is important to hire the right plumbing contractor for your project. Searching for a local plumber on Google can be overwhelming and time-consuming. So, we have outlined some tips for hiring the right plumbing contractor for your home renovation project.

  1. Do your research on trusted websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List that specialize in rating customer satisfaction. Once you have a list of 3-5 possible plumbers to review check out their websites. A great company website will provide information about the company including services and rates offered. Questions that are not answered on the website can be answered through a phone call with a company representative.
  2. Ask relatives and friends you trust for recommendations. They can often tell you which plumbers they’ve used and what they thought of them. They may be able to alert you of any plumbers who provide satisfactory service. You can also search online and look for the company’s customer reviews.
  3. If you decide to call the company, either for information or to schedule an appointment, take note of how you are treated. You want to work with a plumbing company that keeps customer service at a high standard. Treating you with respect and effectively answering all y our questions is a good sign of great customer service.
  4. Make sure the plumber is certified, licensed, and insured for their protection and yours. Ask for personal references and check them out to make sure these are genuine.
  5. Research the address of the plumbing business to make sure it really exists. You want to work with a local company that has a vested interest in the community and in keeping customers satisfied and coming back.
  6. Guarantees are important. Make sure the job isn’t subcontracted to different plumbers that may not offer the same guarantees. You want the job done on time, and, if there are any problems, you want the plumber to repair, replace or do whatever is necessary to provide a satisfactory result.

Want to learn more about finding the right plumbing contractor for your home renovation project? Call us today!

6 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

The exterior of a beautiful house with a pool at dusk

Before you hire a home improvement contractor, consider how to make the experience as seamless as possible for everyone involved

After months of planning, dreaming, saving, and picking out samples, it’s finally time to take action on your big project. Whether it’s a bathroom remodel or a new addition off your main level, a home improvement contractor can lend their specialized experience, skills, and knowledge to your project. Here are six essential tips to keep in mind when hiring a local contractor near you.

1. Communicate Your Goals

During your first conversation with a prospective contractor, discuss your goals for the project, from the final result to the small details. Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor questions and discuss how you can keep in touch regularly throughout the project. Hiring for home improvement requires trust, so make sure you see eye-to-eye and choose a contractor that understands your vision and has the experience the job requires.

2. Be Clear About Your Budget

A contractor discussing renovation plans with homeowner
leszekglasner – stock.adobe.com

Communicate exactly what you want done and how much you’re willing and able to pay for the job. This way, the home improvement contractor you hire can give you a quote that sets expectations for both parties, and you won’t end up with any surprises at the end of your project.

If necessary, break the project down into multiple phases. Although spreading out project milestones may push out the project’s completion date, it may be a better option for your budget to minimize the upfront cost. Homeowners can also often save money on a home improvement project by doing small tasks on their own, such as cleaning and painting.

3. Understand That Price Often Reflects Quality

Ask your contractor for their recommendations on all project deliverables and timelines and request a written description of the materials necessary for the job. While the lowest bid might sound the easiest for your budget, it’s not always the best option in the long run. An unusually low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials, cuts corners, or is unlicensed or uninsured.

You can avoid home improvement fraud and get the quality you’re looking for by going with a more accurate project bid somewhere in the middle and requesting past-client references to follow up with.

4. Know a Contractor’s Credentials

Before hiring a contractor, brush up on common industry standards and qualifications, including any certifications they have from a national trade organization. Abbreviations behind your contractor’s name indicate that the company belongs to certain organizations that bind them to a strict code of ethics. Memberships, titles, and abbreviations may include:

Also, insist on hiring a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor. This is a must. Otherwise, as the property owner, you are liable if a work crew member gets injured on the job.

5. Get Your Home Improvement Contract in Writing

Home improvement contractors are different from general contractors because they typically keep work in-house and don’t hire subcontractors.

Your home improvement contract should include:

  • Detailed timelines
  • Total cost
  • Payment arrangements
  • Your contractor’s license number
  • Project description
  • Names of parties involved
  • How to handle additional costs, if necessary

Your contractor should give you a timeline for the job to be completed. If they don’t, ask for one! This will give you peace of mind throughout the process and ensure everyone is on the same page with their expectations. Plus going without a timeline can really slow down your home renovation.

Do your best to stay organized by keeping job-related documents, such as contracts, payments, receipts, and contact information all in one place in case you need them for reference.

6. Educate Yourself About the Home Improvement Requirements

Doing some high-level research before the hiring process will help you understand what requirements and regulations need to be followed for your remodeling project. While your contractor will likely apply for and acquire all necessary permits, it doesn’t hurt to ask for process details and updates.

The cost of the job will likely increase if the contractor is surprised by outdated wiring or other concealed budget busters, so it’s important to know what’s going on behind the scenes in your home as well.

10 Tips for Working With a General Contractor Written by the MasterClass staff

Taking on a home renovation project or a brand new construction project can be intimidating. While you may have a clear idea of what you want your home to look like, you may not know much about the details—from drafting plans to pulling building permits to sourcing labor and materials. That’s where a general contractor can be incredibly useful.

What Is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a professional in the construction industry who oversees a construction project. A good general contractor is the point person who communicates with the architect and structural engineer, the workers on the job site, and the government entity that issues the necessary permits and inspects for code violations. Some general contractors work for large construction companies; others work independently and hire subcontractors to handle tasks like carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, roofing, and on-site project management.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

The best general contractors oversee every part of a construction project. Among other things, a general contractor does the following:

  • Drafts a budget and schedule: The general contractor consults with the homeowners about setting a realistic budget and time frame.
  • Works closely with the architect: A good general contractor regularly checks in with the building architect, who may even be provided by the contractor’s firm.
  • Works closely with the interior designer: If applicable, the general contractor will keep tabs on the interior designer, who may even work for the contractor’s firm.
  • Ensures that the building complies with standards: The general contractor applies for building permits and is onsite during inspections from the city, county, or other supervising entity.
  • Hires subcontractors for construction: Subcontractors hired by the general contractor may include carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters, tile and floor specialists, ironworkers, and HVAC specialists.
  • Potentially hires an onsite project manager: The project manager supervises the actual construction work and ensures building codes are always met.
  • Keeps the project on time and on budget: The general contractor won’t move on to the next job until yours is completed.

Frank Gehry on Working With a General Contractor

Frank Gehry on Working With a General Contractor

10 Tips for Working With a General Contractor

Before breaking ground on any major projects, make sure you’ve found the best contractor to oversee the process.

  1. Use referrals. Don’t select a contractor based on advertising alone. Ask for referrals and look for honest opinions about a local contractor’s work. If you know people in the real estate or construction industry, solicit their thoughts as well.
  2. Seek licensed contractors. Most municipalities do not require you to use a licensed contractor—your average everyday handyman may not have a contractor’s license—but larger projects almost always need the expertise of a licensed professional with years of experience. Licensed contractors carry liability insurance and worker’s compensation for their crews, which can protect you if an injury occurs on the job site.
  3. Ask to see pictures of similar projects. If you’re hiring a contractor for a big kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel, it’s important to confirm that you’ll be happy with the end result. When reviewing photos of past work, check the seams of surfaces—places where walls come together or where the wall meets the ceiling. If you see evidence of shoddy work, look for a different contractor; you want someone who pays attention to detail.
  4. Get multiple quotes. For first-time homeowners, it may be hard to know how much to pay for a construction project or home remodeling project. If you get at least three quotes from different contractors, you should have a good idea of the going rate.
  5. Settle on a price and a time frame, and get it in writing. Work should not begin until you have a written agreement with your contractor or home builder, stating the total cost of the project, the start date, and the completion date. Be aware that if you change order—such as moving a wall or redesigning shelving after the project has begun—your contractor will likely bump up the price to cover the additional work.
  6. Select finishes with the contractor. Finishes include faucets, sinks, countertops, lighting fixtures, doors, doorknobs—the kinds of aesthetic touches you’ll likely want to decide on yourself. You do not have to get into the weeds about foundational materials like concrete, steel bars, and structural wood; a good contractor knows what to use, and a building inspector will ensure they are building to code.
  7. Expect to make a down payment. Most contractors require an upfront payment before they do any work. This down payment confirms you are serious, and it gives the contractor funds to purchase initial building materials. Plan to pay at least 10 percent and up to 25 percent of the total cost upfront. Any pre-payment above 25 percent is a red flag.
  8. Set up a payment schedule. Beyond the down payment, you’ll need to make additional payments throughout the construction process. Never make the final payment until the entire project is completed and approved by local inspectors.
  9. Treat as a partner on the project. The best general contractors work as partners with their clients. They do not try to bully their clients into materials or services they do not need, and they always respect the schedule and the budget. In return, treat your general contractor like the master tradesperson they are, and always be polite to workers at the job site. Providing access to an indoor bathroom and plenty of water and snacks can make for a respectful relationship.
  10. Set boundaries. Don’t let your contractor dive into their next job if your building project isn’t close to completion. If there are cost overruns, ask to see receipts and thorough accounting. If you’re always polite but firm, you’ll set yourself up for a respectful, satisfying experience from start to finish.

8 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares what you should know before you hire a contractor.

Tom Silva This Old House Contractor

Tom Silva, This Old House general contractor, shares how homeowners should evaluate a potential contractor before hiring him or her to work on a house. Here are his top 8 pro tips to help you find a contractor from start to finish.

1. Get Recommendations

Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which home renovation contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.

2. Do Phone Interviews

Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and go through these questions to ask a contractor:

  • Do they take on projects of your size?
  • Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
  • How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

3. Meet Face to Face

Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

4. Investigate the Facts

Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But Tom says you shouldn’t rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?

5. Make Plans, Get Bids

You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.

6. Set a Payment Schedule

Another important tip for hiring a contractor is to workout a payment schedule ahead of time. Payment schedules can speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.

7. Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide

“Throw out the lowball bid,” says Tom. “This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work”—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with when hiring a contractor.

8. Put it in Writing

Draw up a contract that details every step of the project: payment schedule; proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust, Tom assures us. It’s about insuring a successful renovation.

Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? “While you’re at it….”

What Is a General Contractor and What Do They Do?

What Is a General Contractor and What Do They Do?

Some home projects are easy for any DIY-er to tackle, but when it’s time to remodel the kitchen or upgrade the master bath, most people need to call a pro. The question is, who do you call?

Home renovation pros have different areas of expertise. A handyman, for example, can switch up your bathroom cabinets or replace the fixtures to give your master bath a facelift. A plumbing subcontractor can install the infrastructure for a new shower or jacuzzi tub to upgrade the room’s functionality. But if you’re completely overhauling the space—changing the layout and adding new elements—a general contractor is the way to go.

What is a general contractor?

A simple general definition for a contractor is someone who coordinates and supervises every aspect of a building or remodeling project. That includes securing the proper permits for the project and hiring, scheduling and overseeing the work of other subcontractors such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians.

Their work goes well beyond managing the hands-on tasks, however. Licensed general contractors take responsibility for the entire worksite which means they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance. If a worker is injured on the job or your property accidentally damaged, the contractor handles the situation. In short, if something goes wrong, the general contractor is financially responsible for making it right.

The general contractor makes sure that all work is done in a way that doesn’t void any product warranties or guarantees. Qualified professionals must install siding, roofing, windows and major appliances in a particular way or the manufacturer may refuse to honor their guarantee. When a general contractor supervises the project, you know everyone will follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Finally, the general contractor is also responsible for securing the workspace and supplies. They handle major projects such as cleaning up and disposing of all trash and debris—and minor but key details such as ensuring workers wear protective foot coverings to safeguard your floors.

Types of contractors

There are two types of general contractors: Traditional and design-build professionals. A traditional general contractor takes project plans designed by someone else, typically an architect or designer, and develops a bid to complete the work.

design-build contractor is an end-to-end professional that works with you to conceptualize and design the project and then oversee its completion. These contractors usually have in-house architectural and design staff that remain involved throughout the entire process. This is helpful if something unexpected happens during the project that requires a modification in the design.

Licensing requirements and qualifications

Every state has mandatory licensing requirements for general contractors. Contractors must pass a test to qualify, but some states impose additional conditions, such as proof of liability insurance, a tax ID number and proof of business address.

Although general contractors can be licensed with only a high school diploma, many contractors have a degree in construction management, civil engineering or building science. Advanced education is helpful because general contractors need to know different construction methods and materials, how to evaluate and prepare a site, read architectural and design plans and recognize when inspections and permits are necessary to complete a project.

Practical experience is the most important qualification for general contractors. Most of them spend years working as skilled subcontractors, advancing to supervisory roles, before applying for a general contractor’s license. This experience prepares them to estimate costs and completion times, recognize qualified subcontractors, test completed work and control expenses.

When to hire a contractor

No one wants to pay for more expertise than they need, so you shouldn’t hire a general contractor unless you’re tackling a fairly complicated project. A good rule of thumb is if a project can be finished in under a week, a handyman or subcontractor can probably do the job.

On the other hand, if the project will take several weeks to complete and involves permits, inspections and multiple different skilled professionals, you probably need a general contractor.

Think of a major kitchen remodel , for example. Your plans involve knocking down a wall between the kitchen and dining room, swapping your range for a kitchen island with cooktop and wall oven, adding a prep sink, warming drawer and built-in wine refrigerator, upgrading your flooring, installing a bay window and completely revamping your lighting scheme.

You’ll need plumbers, electricians , drywall, tile and window installers, carpenters and painters. You also need to arrange and time the delivery of appliances and supplies so that everyone has the necessary materials for each stage of the project. Finally, your county may require a building permit and plumbing and electrical inspections at various completion points.

Unless you’re an expert in construction methods, project management and your local building regulations—and you have a lot of time on your hands—you need a general contractor to coordinate and supervise all those activities.

 

 

Contractor vs. subcontractor

It’s easy to confuse contractors and subcontractors, but they have very different skill sets. General contractors oversee the entire project—they take drawings or plans and bring them to life. Your general contractor obtains permits, buys materials, hires and pays construction professionals and secures inspections. Once you approve the plans, your job is essentially done until the project is finished, unless something unexpected comes up.

General contractors hire subcontractors to complete a specific part of the project. Subcontractors usually specialize in a single area such as plumbing, drywall, HVAC, flooring, painting or carpentry. Subcontractors can be self-employed individuals or employees of a subcontracting business.

You as the homeowner typically won’t have any interaction with the subcontractors, since they are hired, supervised and paid by the general contractor. Most general contractors have long-standing relationships with a variety of subcontractors in different construction specialties so they have access to expertise for even highly complex, custom jobs.

Hiring a general contractor

If you decide to hire a general contractor , do your homework. Find out how long the contractor has been in business and if they’ve completed projects like yours; ask to see examples of their work and if you can speak to previous customers. Only work with licensed and insured contractors; check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any outstanding complaints.

Make sure you understand project costs. Some general contractors charge the cost of materials and labor plus 15% to 20%; others bid a flat fee for the entire project. Cost plus a percentage is a more flexible option, but it can be difficult to predict the final total. A flat-fee bid is better if you have a particular budget in mind for your project.

Review your contract carefully to make sure every detail is covered. If something goes wrong and you need to seek legal action against your contractor, your contract supports your case. It should spell out the project schedule, materials and costs, the names of subcontractors used and how work changes will be handled. Keep detailed records of all payments and receipts and take photographs periodically to document progress.

The right professional makes all the difference when you’re ready to fix up your home. If you’re simply tackling your honey-do list, your local handyman can save you time and aggravation. If your home improvement plans involve a major overhaul, a general contractor may be the best way to go.