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Helpful Tips from Skip Knoll, Inc.

 

How to Choose a Reputable Contractor:

If you are ready to build a new home or remodel an existing one, you are probably wondering what to look for in a responsible builder. Here are some tips!

  • Contact your local builders association for a list of its members or ask if the contractor is a member of a builders association.
  • Take your time. Most problems occur when consumers fail to investigate contractors carefully before hiring them.
  • Ask for an insurance certificate to verify current workers' compensation and general liability insurance.
  • Ask for references. Talk with others who have had work done by the contractor about the company's capabilities and quality of workmanship.
  • Make sure the contractor has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.
  • Incorporate any warranties, guarantees or other promises in your written contract. Always insist on a written contract and written change orders.
  • Be specific about starting and completion dates. Some delays are unavoidable and beyond the contractor's control.
  • Beware of an unusually low bid or low advertised price. If a contractor cannot pay for labor, materials and overhead, you are both in trouble.
  • Select a contractor you are comfortable with--one who understands your tastes and needs and with whom you can communicate easily.


Warning signs of possible trouble ahead when selecting a contractor:

  • You cannot verify the name, address and telephone number or credentials of the contractor.
  • The salesperson tries to "high pressure" you into signing a contract by using scare tactics, threats or intimidation.
  • Although reputable builders sometimes offer special discounts for advertising purposes, watch out for contractors who offer unusually low prices in exchange for advertising. Protect yourself by asking the contractor for a list of previous clients who also had been offered the special rate in exchange for advertising considerations.
  • Call the references and ask them if they received the promised quality workmanship and special rate.
  • The contractor does not comply with your request for references or the references have some reservation about the contractor.
  • You are unable to verify that the contractor is insured.


The Contractor’s Responsibilities

Hiring a builders association member makes good sense. Your home is probably your biggest investment. Poor quality work can reduce the return on your invested dollars.

 

A professional contractor provides the following services:

  • Is responsible for all phases of the job from start to finish—planning, design, labor, materials and scheduling.
  • Coordinates all work to avoid costly and inconvenient delays.
  • Obtains high quality materials and labor, sometimes at lower prices than you would pay because of volume and knowledge of the marketplace.
  • Performs work according to specifications, hires competent workers and subcontractors and knows what products provide lasting satisfaction.
  • Is familiar with design options, building codes and construction practices. Make sure that your contractor is building to meet or exceed the Uniform Construction Code standards.
  • Obtains all necessary permits; arranges for required inspections; complies with social security, workers’ compensation and other local, state and national regulations that protect the consumer. Without a reputable contractor working on your behalf, you would have to assume these responsibilities and financial obligations.

 

The Consumer’s Role in Construction

As a homeowner you help ensure a project goes smoothly when you:

  • Designate one person to be the contactwith the contractor, keep informed of the job’s progress and answer questions as they arise.
  • Make changes to the original contract in writing and specify cost. Verbal change orders can be very costly, cause delays and create misunderstandings.
  • Plan your project carefully to avoid unnecessary delays.


Evaluating The Contract

Your contract should be easily understood and detailed. It should clearly spell out the responsibilities and obligations of both parties and should be based on complete plans or specifications prepared by reputable contractors, architects or designers.

The contract should specify:

  • Quality and quantity of materials.
  • Styles and brand names of products.
  • A firm price for the work and a payment schedule and whether there is a cancellation penalty.
  • Any items of work that will not be performed by the contractor. Read your contract carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
 
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Testimonials

We have worked with Skip on several projects in our home over the years. We had put in a new kitchen floor and it made the rest of the kitchen look bad. Skip redid our counter-tops, put in a new sink, removed a never used kitchen desk and replaced it with much need cabinets and finally added a small…
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