Home Building Contractors


Below are some of the results from the "Ask George" files for Home Building Contractors.

More Information on Home Building contractors can be found on the Home Building Contractors page.

These questions were submitted thru my contact form which can be found on the "You Can Build Your Own Home" Ask George Page.
   
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Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors
From Derryl:

Hello!

First, I'd like to say you've built an incredible website and wonderful information base for us "soon-to-be" homebuilder's. Thank you so much for taking the time and making the effort to do it! I've dreamed of building my own home for decades and am finally getting a chance to take the "plunge" soon. I have some challenging issues and a few questions I'd hoped you could comment on? First, for comparative purposes, how many finished sqare feet of living space was your home you built? Where, geographically speaking, did you build? (Those two questions pertaining mostly to propane tank size information)What year did you build?

I live 1800 miles presently from my future home site and won't be "on-site" for approximately 4 1/2 months. We're not going to begin construction until our present home sells but I'd like to have the excavation, septic and basement/foundation finished by the time we arrive. I'm finding it quite difficult to obtain information pertaining to framing crews and local sub-contractors in the area, almost impossible by phone. The city has a population of about 30,000. I wouldn't have thought that process so difficult. Any ideas? One last question, do you have any information on basement building? More specifically, sealing and backfill in possible moist areas (the home site is on a plateau however, but the area gets about 51 inches of annual precipitation)?

Thanks for your time and all your available information.

Response:

Hello Derryl,

We have around 3800 heated and cooled square feet in the great state of Texas.

I really am not an expert on basement construction. We cannot have them here because the water table is so high it would be a swimming pool.

Can you take some time off to go to the area you are building, maybe a week? If so go to building sites and ask the contractors that are working if they would be interested in bidding on your project. Say you need a framing crew for instance go to a house being framed up and ask for the foreman. Believe me they will be happy to do so. At worst they can give you the phone number for the right person to contact.

Many times they will know other trades to recommend also. Do this for every trade you are having trouble finding. Don't be shy they will be happy to help.

You can also call the big lumber suppliers in the area not Home Depot or Lowes but the big yards that supply the contract trades for your area. If you don't know who they are contact the local chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau and ask them they will know. The lumber yards do business with these guys all the time or at worst have a board that these guys post their business cards or numbers on. You can also visit the yard and go to the order counter and look for the board they all have them.

You could also call the local concrete supplier and ask for concrete guys for your foundation.

Remember get more than one quote and get references. It may take some time but is well worth it in the long run.

Several of my readers have run into this issue. I need to do a newsletter on this to make sure everybody knows how to proceed in this situation.

Hope this helps,

George

Here is the newsletter link: Newsletter on Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors
From Robb:

Hey George! Thanks for all of the info. I am just breaking into the general contracting business and your site and newsletters have helped me quite a bit. Great job!

Response:

Hello Robb,

Thanks for the e mail and the compliment. Hope your business is a great success!

George

Response From Robb:

Hi George. I have been running into a few customers who do not wish to give me a down payment for materials. Is it not common for the job to be paid in thirds by the customer? Thanks for the help!

Response:

Hello Rob,

It is according to the job. For instance when I recently put in a new garage door on my building they wanted 50% up front to order the door and the other half after the install.

I paid my plumber and electrician in draws upon completion of phases of the project. They supplied all their materials except fixtures I bought them.

My framer was paid in draws every week and he supplied nails and fasteners and I supplied the wood.

I could go on but I think you will get the drift here. Every situation can be different.

I don't know what you are contracting but you might try a couple of things. Maybe get the client to buy the materials or go with them to buy them. I did that on a couple of occasions when it was a trust issue.

Maybe just offering to let them buy them, or accompany you to pay will help you overcome their initial jitters. Once you have a commitment everything will more than likely go smooth.

Maybe offer some references up front with phone numbers.

Hope this helps,

George
Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors
Newsletter Response:

so, you suggest not to give a contractor any money up front? Don't they require some up front for most jobs?

Response:

On my website page about Building Contractors I discuss this in more detail. Of course you must give up front money for some jobs such as any project that requires the contractor to purchase materials that will be used on your project. For instance the installation of a garage door would require 50% up front.

On my project I purchased most of the materials, I found doing it that way I had less misunderstandings.

The intent of the statement:

"NEVER ever give them advance payment on work that has not been performed. Remember as soon as they are paid in full…. they are GONE."

When you pay for work in full that has not been performed you will be sorry. Essentially the money is the only control you have over the project.

Hope this helps,

George Stevens
Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors
From Larry:

I have been looking everywhere and can not find sample bid packages for each trade. Can you help?

Thank you.

Response:

Hello Larry,

First let me apologize for the late response. Living near the Gulf coast during hurricane season can be fun!

I mention bid packages on the Build Your Own Home Building Contractor page.

On that page about half way down is this paragraph:

"Now you need to put together a bid package to send to your perspective Building Contractors. This will include a letter of intent, a set of plans (only include the pages that pertain to his or her craft), a general scope of the work they will perform, anticipated construction schedule and bidding information. It will tell them the deadline for returning the bid and the general specifications of the project, materials used and methods of construction. You also will include a copy of a non-executed contract in the bid package for their review. If they do not return the bid on or before the deadline it is an indication of how they run their business. As I said above do this with 3 Building Contractors for each trade."

I would suggest you find an attorney in your area that is familiar with the construction trade, and make sure you are using the right documents. For instance the letter of intent, contract, and the lien release that you will use before you have the contractor sign before you pay them.

Near the bottom of the Build Your Own Home Legal page is a link to Legal match, and to a Legal document service that you can search for the proper documents for your area.

Let me be clear, I am not a lawyer, and am not qualified to give you legal advice. You need to get good counsel in your area to make sure you have the right documents to build your home.

Hope this helps,

George Stevens
Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors
From Dave:

A QUESTION ?? You make several comments about sub-contractors, but I do not find any where that you tell me where to get a really good sub contract..?? where should I go ??? thanks

Response:

Hello Dave,

On the Contractor page there are 2 links to Contractor Referral Services. Here is link to the page Building Contractors. Look about 3/4 down the page.

All the best,

George Stevens

From Dave:

Sorry, I am not looking for sub contractors. I am looking for a really good sub-contract. ???

Response:

Hello Dave,

One thing that I did to find a really great trim carpenter was I went to houses under construction, and looked for trim work in progress. I asked the contractors there if they were looking for work. You can guess what the answer was.

This is a pain in the butt, but you kill two birds with one rock. You see the work they do, and you get to meet them, or at least their crew. It is time consuming but it works.

George
Home Building Contractors
Home Building Contractors, The "Ask George" Files Home Building Contractors




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