Types of Contractors
A general contractor is the key contractor you have to
hire for a major renovation project. The general
contractor though, has other subcontractors that he
oversees for the renovation of your home. The repair and
maintenance contractors you need are very different from
the general contractor.
Usually the General Contractor does not provide the
labor to build the house. The laborers come from the
subcontractors or the trades. This may include
carpenters for roughens, excavators, flooring, painting,
concrete sub, plumber, electrician, roofer, and the
finish carpenter. The general contractor hires the
subcontractors and holds their contracts. Holding the
contract means that they are working for him, they are
under contract to him and he pays them directly. When
you hire a general contractor you only have a contract
with him not all the subs. The general contractor marks
up the subcontractor's fee a certain percentage of the
For this fee the contractor does all the organization
and scheduling of the subs. He also pays, provides
supervision of the construction, provides dumpsters,
port-a-john, insurance and other miscellaneous things
involved in the construction project. The contractors
make money by charging for labor and by marking up the
materials. The general contractor is referred to the
generalist and the subs are the specialist. Whenever you
need just a specific thing fixed in your home you would
always hire a specialist. A specialist would be for an
example a plumber or electrician. When hiring someone
for maintenance task some people just hire a guy with a
magnet advertising on the side of his truck but in
reality he is not licensed at all. This could be people
like gutter cleaners, painters or lawn care. Usually
using these types do work out but you must be careful
because you do not have the legal protection as with
using a licensed contractor. It's just better to use
common sense and keep yourself protected by going with
someone who is licensed.
It's typically easy to tell the unlicensed contractors
or scam artist or possibly someone who is just trying to
get in your home. Use wisdom and do your homework to
keep away from the following pitfalls.
1. Unlicensed contractors often go door-to-door saying
they "just finished a job down the street and we're in
the neighborhood and noticed your roof needs patching."
2. They may force you and twist their words stating, "If
you act now, you'll get a special price."
3. Unlicensed contractors either "forget" to pull
construction permits or they ask you to do it for them.
If you do this, you are assuming legal responsibility
for the project as well as the contractor's mistakes.
4. Some states require contractors to list their license
numbers on their vehicles, their estimates and their
advertising. If a contractor has not done that, this is
generally a bad sign.
5. If you see a license number in an ad, and it has a
different number of letters, numerals and digits than
all the other licenses, this probably means it is a
false license number.
6. Be suspicious if a contractor provides only a PO box
or cell number. That may mean he does not have
credibility in the community and could skip town when
people start to complain.
7. Unlicensed contractors commonly ask for a lot of
money up front if not the whole amount. Consider this a
red flag and try not to pay any money in advance. If you
must, keep the amount to a minimum.
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