Why Homeowners Need Responsive Virginia General Contractors

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor, Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-general-contractorsRenovations include countless small tasks that come together to form a brand new space within your home. And any of those small jobs can get complicated. Responsive Virginia general contractors work hard to communicate with homeowners and tackle every problem efficiently with the customer’s satisfaction in mind.

Why is Responsiveness an Important Trait in a General Contractor?

Most people hire a general contracting firm to take care of major home renovations like kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, roofing, siding and deck construction. These projects must be handled carefully from the design stage to completion, including all of the many steps in between. General contractors have the skills and knowledge to manage these projects well.

Do you really need to be in constant communication with the contractor throughout your project? Maybe not, but it’s important to hire a contracting firm you can trust with your home.

Look for a contractor dedicated to customer service and willing to talk with and listen to their customers. Make sure they’re willing to take the time to meet with you regularly, going over the details of the project and answering any questions or concerns that you have.

Unresponsive contractors leave their clients guessing in terms of scheduling, pricing, and even warranty issues. You’re bound to find it frustrating when your phone calls and emails go unanswered. This is especially true if the contractor does not have an office or showroom you can visit.

Clients also want their contractor to maintain good communication with subtrades, suppliers and the local building department. This helps keep your project moving along quickly. If the company has a track record of responsiveness you can be confident that they’ll stay in touch with all of those involved in the job.

How Virginia General Contractors Should Communicate

Does your preferred contractor have a cell phone, and are they willing to provide you with that number? Can you contact them in the evenings or on the weekend with questions and issues? If not, can you rely on them to respond to phone messages or emails within a reasonable time frame?

Good communication skills also mean clear and consistent paperwork. Did your general contractor provide you with a detailed estimate of the project and/or an easy to read design? When the project is done experienced contractors will provide a thorough bill detailing any extras, deposits, and draws on the project. They should also offer documentation that spells out your warranty coverage.

You can gauge the responsiveness of a general contractor by following a few easy steps. Be sure to ask for references and give those past clients a call. Ask them whether the contractor stayed in touch and how often.

It’s a good idea to check with the local Better Business Bureau as well. This organization records customer disputes and the contractor’s response, allowing you to check their track record in just a few minutes. Find out whether the contractor is involved in any local construction associations as well.

Responsive Virginia general contractors will make your home improvement project run smoothly. You’ll still need to compare price, experience and relational skills, but the contractor’s level of responsiveness is important to your level of satisfaction with the renovation.

How Are Virginia General Contractors Different From a Local Handyman?

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsWhen you are planning a home improvement project it is very important to hire the right contractor. Not just the best company in your area, but the proper type of firm. Many homeowners are not clear on the differences between Virginia general contractors and a local handyman. They wonder whether hiring the handyman will save them money and what kind of specialized service they can expect from an experienced general contractor.

Let’s clear up the confusion.

The Basic Difference

Although there may be exceptions to the rule, most often a general contracting firm has a licensed tradesperson on staff. Sometimes there is more than one and several disciplines are covered. You may find a contracting firm with licensed plumbers and electricians on staff, or engineers, planning consultants and architects.

A handyman is most often a highly skilled individual who can handle many different projects, but cannot offer you the value of papers, certifications or designations. It may seem to be a trivial difference, but those credentials come with some very serious specifications and deliver immense value to homeowners.

Look at What Those Certifications Offer

When you are tackling a major Virginia home improvement project, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, the skills of Virginia general contractors are essential. They will help you with the design stage and have the knowledge of building codes and permits that you need to get the project off of the ground. Without a well planned renovation you are not going to get approval from the municipality or state to begin the project. And that plan needs to be drawn up by a certified professional.

You are also covered under the general contractors liability, from start to finish. The plans must be written to follow building code, which will be the engineer’s responsibility and not the homeowner’s. Liability on the jobsite in case of accident or injury is also covered by the company, which is standard practice for a general contracting firm. You may find that a handyman company offers worker’s compensation or liability coverage, but most often that is not the case.

What About Small Projects?

You may feel more inclined to hire a handyman for those smaller projects around your home. Do you need your siding painted? Or a new bathroom put in? A handyman can look after that for you without the need for all of those designation and certifications, right? Possibly. But are you willing to trust their experience or would you rather know that a third party has licensed the contractor based on proper work practices and current industry standards?

The choice is yours.

It may be true that a handyman can complete these projects for less money. Since budgeting is a big part of renovations, that is a major factor. But if the handyman isn’t able to do the work properly or needs to bring in a licensed professional for inspections, planning and other stages, are you sure that you will save money in the end?

Compare the prices quoted by each type of company based on the value and services offered. Hiring Virginia general contractors will be the right choice in many cases, but a skilled and familiar local handyman may also do the trick for others.

Why Cash Deals With Virginia General Contractors Can Be Dangerous

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractors_contractMost homeowners would jump at the chance to secure a good deal, especially in these tight economic times. But when it comes to hiring Virginia general contractors to look after your home renovation, addition or remodel, cash deals can put you in a surprising amount of danger. Find out why these under the table arrangements really are too good to be true.

Assumptions About the Advantages of Cash Deals

Many homeowners assume that a cash deal presents no risk to them. The contractor is simply operating “under the table” to avoid paying income tax. Homeowners also assume that they are saving money by avoiding any state or sales tax. But the reality is that much more is happening during a cash deal, especially when that transaction involves home renovations.

Cash deals are generally un-receipted work, which means that no paperwork is issued and no proof that any particular contractor completed the work exists. This also means that no warranties are in place – neither the workmanship nor the materials are under warranty (unless the homeowner has paid for the materials separately and keeps the receipts). In this way the contractor is avoiding any legal action or service calls in regards to substandard work.

Insurance Coverage Nullified

Homeowners may have trouble obtaining insurance with no receipts to show for the completed renovation work. They may be able to claim that some of the project involved DIY work, but with plumbing, electrical and mechanical work involved that clam could pose a serious problem.

Cash deals often skip the building permit stage as well, since that adds to the cost and also leaves a paper trail (something most under the table Virginia general contractors want to avoid). But your insurance company may cry foul with no building permits issued and coverage could be denied or refused in the case of damage.

In some cases a house sale has been held up or overturned due to the lack of building permits or proper home insurance. Any money saved on the cash deal seems small in comparison to the cost of these hassles.

Beware of Cash Deal Contractor Business Practices

You may be tempted to hire a casual contractor for your Virginia home improvement project. But before you count up any dollars saved, be sure you investigate whether or not that contractor has the proper insurance and safety procedures in place. If not, you could be on the hook for some serious damages should an accident occur.

Liens may also be in place on the materials for your project. If the renovation is large enough, those liens can represent thousands of dollars and the homeowner may be responsible for those dollars should the contractor default on supplier payments. Usually professional and established general contractors will issue a contract spelling out liability and waiving the homeowners from any responsibility for defaulted payments on the contractor’s accounts.

It may seem like that cash deal will save you a lot of money, but if you are not dealing with experienced Virginia general contractors in a professional and legal manner you run some serious risks. Keep it on the up and up and enjoy better peace of mind during your home improvement project.

Three Projects You Can Trust Virginia General Contractors to Handle Skillfully

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsHome improvement projects are not always straightforward. They may involve a little bit of demolition and repair. They might also require a wide variety of skills and disciplines. But when you are looking for a skilled craftsman who can handle the most complicated and obscure jobs your best bet is to look for Virginia general contractors. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to complete a vast range of projects, including the following:

Replacement or Upgrade of Exterior Finishes

From the siding and trim to the windows and doors, your exterior finishes perform an essential function. These components offer protection from the elements and provide an attractive face for your home. They also serve as the major player in energy efficiency. Older designs can result in excessive wastes and massive utility bills.

Trust general contractors to provide all of the services required for an exterior facelift. They will remove any aged and worn siding and trim, as well as assess the quality and fit of the existing doors and windows. Experienced contractors will have access to any brand or manufacturer you prefer and will have the knowledge required to choose components that work together seamlessly.

Exterior Living Spaces

As well as repairs and replacement of the exterior finishes, experienced Virginia general contractors will have the skills to design and build your dream outdoor living space. Overhead features like pergolas and arbors compliment custom decks. Patios and stone walkways integrate perfectly with beautifully landscaped gardens. And sunrooms or solariums provide the ultimate bridge between indoor and outdoor living.

Building a quality exterior living space requires all of the same skills as building a house, and general contractors are more than qualified. Lighting plays a major role and patio heating will also require contractors skilled in electrical work. Plumbing might even be a factor if water features or an outdoor kitchen are part of the design. Let your imagination soar and allow an established general contracting firm to handle the details of construction of your dream outdoor living space.

Major Room Remodels

When it’s time to refinish the kitchen cabinets or upgrade the bathroom fixtures you may be tempted to call in a company that specializes in those rooms. But don’t discount the skills of general contractors. Experienced firms will have completed plenty of these projects, from flooring to cabinetry, tiling and plumbing.

A benefit of hiring general contractors for this type of work is their versatile experience. The skills acquired through home building and major renovations are applied well in kitchen and bathroom remodels. You can be sure that the designs will flow with the balance of your home and will use sustainable, affordable materials. General contractors are also highly skilled in project management, which allows for a smooth and hassle free renovation (otherwise known as a homeowner’s dream).

They may not be your first thought, but Virginia general contractors are more than equipped to handle almost any home improvement projects you are planning. From upgrades to your windows and siding to exterior living spaces and kitchen or bath remodels, skilled general contracting firms offer a combination of extensive construction skills and highly developed management knowledge. They are your best bet and will leave you satisfied with your home and living space.