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Contractors say homeowners with this trait are the most satisfied with home improvement projects.

Signing a contract (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home

Don't get burned by failing to read the fine print of a home remodeling contract. Check out these things every remodeling contract should contain.

Angie's List
Drywall, Fencing, Fencing & Driveway Gates, Painting - Exterior, Painting - Interior, Plumbing, Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Kitchen & Bathroom, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home, Roofing

Houston roofing complaint | Contractor claims leaks are coming from plumbing, not roof.

Angie's List
Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home, Roofing
Homeowner claims property manager hired to oversee roofing work, drywall repair and electrical upgrades allowed contractors to do unsatisfactory and incomplete work.

Angie's Answers

?
Todd said it best.

An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.

Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more.  Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.

It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast.  You can have any two:  Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap;  Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!

When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select.   You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later).  If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low,  you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.

A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run. 

Good luck!
?

No.  Heck no.  Here's a good example.  We very recently needed to find someone to install about 500 square feet of exotic wood flooring (we already have the materials).  We contacted about 12-15 top-rated Angieslist contractors.  Out of the few who did get back to us, we got 5 quotes, 2 of them were literally just over the phone.  They "didn't feel it would be necessary to even see the space". 

 

Here were the bids: 

$4000 (sight unseen), $2800 (sight unseen), $2500, $1500, $1450

 

We didn't "share our budget for this".  Why would we?  We asked them to bid the job.  That's it.  All of them should be well-qualified and they are all highly rated.  We were interested in how THEY value their time/resources - for an apples/apples job. 

 

Do you still think that you should tell them about your budget?  Your choice.  From my standpoint it isn't their business.  I'm asking them to bid on a project.  Invariably I'll get some very high bids, medium bids and a few more reasonable ones - ALL from "highly rated contractors". 

?

Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.

If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".

That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.

This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.

NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.

Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.

 

?
You should always get a set of print and pull a permit when remodeling you home. It is a good thing that you want to be involved in your project. I do have some reservation about the electrical work. There is a lot at risk with doing the work yourself. If the house burns down you will never get the insurance money, unless your a certified electrician. Now of days 90% of home fires are blamed on electrical problems because the insurance company is to lazy and cheap to investigate the true problem. Also find out if the city you live in will allow you to perform the work. Make sure you coordinate your subs to have the proper time and space to perform their job. You don't want people working on top of each other. If you order all you materials make sure everything is there before you start your project. Have your subs check for proper and full items to be installed. Make sure every sub has a working set of prints. Make sure you have all the demo done before your subs show up to work. Schedule your plumber first, do any final framing or electrical work while you wait for inspection. Electrical inspection next followed by framing, insulation, and wallboard. All subs must get a final inspection on the job before you (the GC) can call in your final inspection.
?
The answer depends on your contract.  If you do not have a written contract, you need to begin documenting everything.  Begin by using a calendar and marking the days the contractor started, worked, you had to speak to him/her about the work, etc.

Next photograph the work you feel is sub-par.  If work has been corrected, photograph it now to have a record of its condition.  If you have any "original" or "before work began" pictures get those together, too.

If you do have written contract, see what it says about warranties, complaints, failure to finish / comply, etc.  Holding the money may end up with the contractor taking YOU to court for the funds - you cannot just hold the money.  You need to document in writing what is wrong, what you expect to happen (be specific) and when it should happen by.  A good contract will explain if and how money can be held, how the arbitration or complaint is filed, etc.

You should also invite another contractor to come in and bid the work to finish the job.  They can confirm the quality of the work and give you a price to fix / finish the job.  This gives you justification for holding the funds and an option to finish the job.

If the contractor is not willing to fix the work or listen to direction, do not allow them back in the house.  A judge will ask you why you let them continue to do work if you found it unacceptable.  Take back the key or access to the building - you can also attempt holding any materials or tools as collateral if the cost of repair is higher than the amount owed.  Again, document what you are holding, its estimated value (google or ebay search), etc.

Finally, in writing you should fire the contractor and state the exact reason(s).  Document everything; if it is done in person after they leave make notes of what was said, agreed upon and disputed.  If you are satisfied that what you have paid is fair compensation for the work done, make sure this is noted in the letter firing the contractor.  If you feel money is owed, you will need to file a small claim in your local court.  Include the documentation you made, notes, letters, etc. when you file your claim so the judge will have a copy of everything.  Don't forget to contact the BBB.

Do not wait for the court date; go ahead and hire the other contractor and have the work completed.  Bring this invoice to court with you (file it before the court date if you can).  Bring photos of the finished work (again, file it with the court before the date if possible).  You must show what good quality work looks like vs the poor quality work.

Otherwise it will be a your word against the contractor and you will most likely lose, (the contract is a promise to pay for work) or even if you "win" you will most likely split the difference between the argued amount of money.  Also be prepared for the contractor to file a small court claim against you.  Same process as above, except now you will respond to the summons with a copy of your stuff to defend your reason for holding funds instead of asking for money back.

Good luck!
?
Yes, you can ask for these items.  Second Century Homes answered your question well - most contractors do not do a break down to prevent haggling on items that shouldn't be part of the discussion.  People sometimes forget to allow the builder to make money. . .  Builders also want the entire job, not the nickle and dime menu selected items - you may find the contractor says "Thanks, but no thanks" if you ask them to remove portions of the work.

The real question is why do you need this break down?  If you are thinking you will do the demo yourself to save money, you can certainly tell your contractor this - but I would be willing to bet once you buy or rent the tools, haul the trash to the correct disposal dump (many trash dumps will not take home building materials anymore) and clean up / prep for the new work - you will have spent more and delayed the project more than just letting the professionals do it. Plus, do not be surprised when they still have to do additional demo work that you didn't know would be needed to complete the job, etc.

Also keep in mind that cutting portions of the work out of the job to do later is not a money saving move.  You will find that the cost for the individual items go up when done seperately - the contractor has to come back multiple times, has to set the equipment back up, possibly pull seperate permits, schedule the work crew / subs, etc.

If you are asking for the break down to compare bids, then again, tell the contractors what numbers you want to see.  If you are doing it because you feel the total price is too high, have a discussion with your contractor; they may be able to suggest ways to save costs, etc.  Ultimately if you know the materail costs, and have the total figure, you can do a pretty good estimate of the percentage for labor and profit in the job.

It is your project and your contract, so you can ask for anything you want on the quote - just be clear on why you want the information so the contractor can work with you.

Good luck!

All Modular Home Remodeling Companies in Boulder, CO

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

4th Dimension Concepts LLC

1730 S Abilene St
Aurora

A & A Glass Co.

2300 DALLAS ST
Aurora

A-Z Plumbing Services

13680 Franklin St
Brighton

Advance Construction, LLC

1887 S. Meade Street

Allied Fence LLC

4220 E 94th Ave
Denver

ALTITUDE ELECTRIC LLC

25871 Duran Ave
Conifer

American Custom Decks and Remodeling LLC

3700 S. Garrison St.
Lakewood

AMF Remodeling

PO Box 1887
Nederland

Ampman Electric LLC

16455 W9th Ave
Golden

ARE Builders

4135 Vrain St
Denver

Armor LLC

931 Main St
Longmont

AUNICOM Professional Handyman

1201 W Thornton Pkwy
Denver

Avenue Paint and Services

6595 South Elms Circle
Littleton

AWH Construction INC

100 Hemlock Way
Broomfield

B n B Services

2898 w 119th ave

Bear Bridge Construction

29290 S. Sunset Trail

BestBet Construction

11119 Claude Ct
Denver

Bianco Construction Services & Roofing

14066 stanford cir.
Aurora

BK Builders LLC

605 Emerald St
Broomfield

Blu Sky Restoration Contractors

9767 E Easter Ave
Englewood

BND Enterprises

8871 Rutgers St
Westminster

Bradley Ballard

1790 S. Logan St.
Denver

Bragdon Construction, Inc

860 S Cody St
Denver

Burgesshill Construction LLC.

11980 Claude Ct
Northglenn

C Squared Construction LLC

49253 East County Rd 30
Bennett

Castle Restoration

3278 S Wadsworth Blvd., #109
Denver

Classic Property Maintenance

4770 Pearl St
Boulder

colorado construction services

3400 Industrial Lane 10A
Broomfield

Colorado Master Builders

4230 Elati Street Suite 200
Denver

Colorado Reconstruction Services, Inc

9039 Apache Plume Dr
Parker

Colorado Remodelers, LLC

700 Pendleton Ave
Longmont

Colorado Shutters

8227 E State Highway 86
Franktown

Compass Construction LLC

7018 W 38th Ave
Wheat Ridge

Complete Glass and Door

11316 West 107th Place
Westminster

Construction Specialties

3517 W 21st Ave
Denver

CRE Design Engineering Inc.

9197 W 6th Ave Ste 1100
Denver

Custom Decks

2270 S Vaughn Way #204
Aurora

cuteconstruction

1450 blue sky way
Erie

DirectBuy of Indianapolis

8450 Westfield Blvd

DRN Enterprises

5005 South Braun Street
Morrison

E & H Commercial Contracting, LLC

3531 S. Logan St.
Englewood

E.W. Construction

P.O. Box 260163
Denver

Eagle Construction and Remodeling

1570 S. Pierce st.
Lakewood

Energy Smart Builder

3879 E. 120th Ave #111

Everyday Solutions

707 Partridge Circle

FC-Homes

1600 W. Evans unit L
Denver

Finch Home Improvements

5925 S. Willow Way
Englewood

Foreland

9956 W Remington Place, Suite 234
Littleton

Freedom Flooring and Remodeling

P.O. Box 460578
Aurora

Geist Builders

13952 Detroit St
Thornton

Hagers Construction and Landscaping

9680 Castle Ridge Cir
Littleton

Handy Home Repair and Remodel

9711 west phillips drive

Handyman Complete Services, LLC

6901 South Yosemite Street Suite 108
Centennial

Handyman Schwartz, LLC

109 1/2 W Geneseo St.
Lafayette

Hard Buck Landscaping and Home Improvements

18657 E. Stroh Rd. Unit 4205
Parker

Hardwood Floors Unlimited LLC

19505 Mitchell Dr
Denver

Hart's construction

6093 Hoyt Ctii
Arvada

Heritage Wallpaper & Blinds

611 N. Wilcox ST. Ste E
Castle Rock

HighMark Contracting LLC

PO Box # 473
Brighton

Home Advantage

9936 Vine St
Denver

Homeenhancements

54674 E Wolf Creek Dr
Strasburg

HomeKamp Inspections, LLC

1276 Croke Drive
Thornton

In & Out Remodeling

PO Box 171
Pine

Insure Fire and Water Resstoration

4880 Ironton St Unit F
Denver

Integrity Remodeling services

5713 Mangrove Ct
Loveland

Intelligent Design USA

492 W Burgundy St Unit 1117
Highlands Ranch

Jewell Custom Carpentry Inc

637 Voiles Dr
Brighton

JK Plumbing, LLC

9215 W 74th Ave
Arvada

KBCI

3879 E 120th
Denver

KC Restoration

4731 South Santa Fe Cir
Englewood

KD Construction LLC

6537 Lamar St.

Kitchenworx LLC

555 Burbank Street UnitG

L&N Contractors, Inc

3719 S. Ensenada St
Aurora

Lance Husted / Castle Construction

408 Empire Street
Aurora

Laura's Designs

405 East Mission Street

Lopez Drywall

14659 E 24TH AVE
Auroa

M & M Construction

1202 E 58th Ave
Denver

M&M Handyman Services LLC

1246 S Kendall Ct
Lakewood

Magic Touch Property Services

13171 Bryant Circle
Broomfield

manhart designs llc

3531 Shoshone St
Denver

Matrix Land Development, Inc.

4643 S. Ulster St. #807
Denver

MaurCo

1251 Olive Street

MBK/Savage Construction

580 Green Ash St Unit A
Highlands Ranch

Michael McQueen Designer/Builder

5430 S Windermere St
Littleton

midwest remodeling

441 Zante Wat

MJM Remodeling

7410 dakinst
Denver

Mopa Design, Inc.

PO Box
Broomfield

Mr. Electric of Longmont

438 Greenwood Ln
Longmont

No Job Too Small LLC

12911 Rosemary St
Brighton

No Limitz Estimating and Claims Specialist

3119 SOUTH JASPER WAY
Aurora

NORMAN CONSTRUCTION SVC

9691 CITY VIEW DR
Morrison

Old School Surface Solutions

10780 w 102nd pl
Broomfield

Outfitters Electrical Services LLC.

19324 E. Purdue Cir
Aurora

Peak Construction Company

4610 S Ulster St
Denver

Peaks to Plains Construction

964 Mountain View Dr
Castle Rock

Platinum Renovations LLC

841 s uravan st
Aurora

Quality Interior Solutions

90 Rio Grand Blvd.
Denver

RAC Home Improvement

11326 Rodeo Cir
Parker

Ram Electric

129 Baker Ln
Erie

Ram Home Improvements LLC

9629 W Colfax Ave
Denver

RC Construction LLC

10380 Owens St
Westminster

RCC Construction

P.O Box 270236
Littleton

RE:NU Homes, L.L.P.

8560 Baseline Rd.
Lafayette

Red Diamond Restoration, Inc.

6321 N Washington ST
Denver

Red Remodels

10465 Brighton rd
Henderson

RedTalkers Remodeling

832 W. Prentice Ave
Littleton

Renew Builders Inc.

110 Hunters Cove Road

Renewable Interiors

PO Box 2304
Longmont

ReNove Contruction, Inc

4782 Valhalla Dr
Boulder

Rocky Mountain Innovations

8330 E Quincy Ave Apt J206
Denver

Rodriguez Construction Org., L.L.C.

3043 California Street
Denver

Roman's Construction

17212 E. Oberlin Pl

Russ Thomas Constructors

9608 E Jefferson Pl
Aurora

S&S Remodeling

102 Croft Court
Castle Pines

Seminole Builders

6517 W. Portland Ave.
Littleton

Shell Interiors, LLC

PO Box 22871
Denver

Shocker Electric LLC

13616 Garfield St
Brighton

Sustainable Building Development

7989 S Monaco Ct
Englewood

Tesla Global Solutions, Inc.

3240 W 71st Ave Ste 2
Westminster

The Insulation Guys

5555 West 11th Avenue Unit B2
Lakewood

Tiny's Granite Works Inc.

6100 E. 58th Ave.
Commerce City

U Name It We Do It

2885 E Midway Blvd #819

Vanguard Construction

800 W 8th Ave
Denver

Wildwood Services LLC

7321 W 95th Ave
Broomfield

Williams and Sons Electric, LLC

3125 W Alabama Pl
Denver

Word of Mouth,LLC

3827 Paseo Del PRado
Boulder

Your Denver Metro Construction

9112 W. 92nd Avenue
Broomfield

Zapp Electric

P.O. Box 1904

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