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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.

 

?
For this type of job, you need plans and specs from an Architectural/Engineering firm before thinking about contractors - and to get a building permit. Ben's method would work and done incrementally could cost well over $100,000 plus as he says, but this not really the most economic way to approach this big a job. A House Mover or Foundation Underpinning specialty company can usually slide your house onto a whole new foundation, or jack it up on steel beams and hold it there while a basement is dug underneath it, without any intermediate piers. The jacking/move cost would probably be on the order of $30-40,000, and a new basement probably about $40-50,000 - rough ballpark, though I have been involved in some 1000-1500SF single story jobs that went for under $70,000 total. I have been involved in a fair number of these type jobs - and the way the numbers come out, if there is room on the property to move the house, it is almost always nearly as cheap or cheaper to build an equivalent square footage (basement plus ground level) addition rather than add a basement under the house, and that way your new footage is half above ground so worth more on resale, plus you do not lose use of the house for a month or two. Second cheapest is usually sliding house to a new foundation, if property is large enough to do this - though house is totally cut off from utilities for a week to three. Most expensive, and usually only done in tight city environments or with full 2 story or higher houses, is adding the foundation in place, though your utility interruptions should be on the order of hours at a time rather than days or weeks. Talk to an architect - I think you will quickly lean towards the addition option rather than adding a basement - it is just too expensive to deepen foundations in most cases, plus you WILL get cracking in the house and possible water and sewer pipe problems in a move/underpinning job, which is not the case with an addition. This become more likely the case since you want to add 8 feet off the back of the home anyway - so why not just enlarge the addition and do it all that way - MUCH simpler, and MUCH less disruption of your life, and you get much higher resale return on your investment.
?
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!

Modular And Mobile Home Remodelers in Baltimore

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

A & J Home Remodeling

3212 South 13th Rd

A.M. Builders

11962 Queen St
Fulton

abikat costruction llc

3011 st johns ln
Ellicott City

Ace Electric Service LLC

309 Wilmer Pl
Edgewater

Additions Etc LLC

2513 Steel Ave
Edgemere

Affordable Home Services

3664 Benson Ave
Halethorpe

All Counties Fire And Water Mitigation

8201 Cloverleaf Dr
Millersville

AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

10602 Guilford Road
Jessup

Arco Painting & Remodeling LLC

14405 Innsbruck Court
Silver Spring

Artisan Construction Inc

1610 S Shore Pkwy
Pasadena

ASY services llc

356 Chaptico S.
Laurel

Atlantic Home Services

3519 Saratoga aVE
Annapolis

B Square Construction, Inc.

2420 Alees Dr
New Windsor

Bennett Home Improvement

3303 Eckard Rd
Westminster

Birdland builders

1811 ridgewick road
Glen Burnie

Boxer Construction LLC

612 Highland Av
Towson

Brad4Cad LLC

5657 Utrecht Rd
Baltimore

Brandon Fowler

3413 Santee Rd
Nottingham

C & K Home Improvement

52 Ridge Ave.
Edgewater

C MOORE BUILDERS INC

4 IDLEWOOD ST
Glen Burnie

C&J HOME IMPROVEMENT

5409 Belle Vista Ave.
Baltimore

C. Clary Contracting

1215 Honeysuckle Lane
Annapolis

C.A.R.E. Home Improvement

505 Milton Ave
Glen Burnie

C.A.R.E.Home Improvements

505 Milton Ave
Glenburnie

C.K. Lewis Roofing Siding & Windows

89 Calvary Lane
Rising Sun

Calvert Handyman & Home Improvement, LLC

4906 OLD WILLOWS RD
Chesapeake Beach

Carpenter's Contracting

12931 Wexford Park
Clarksville

Central Construction Contracting LLC

1310 Rogers Rd
Annapolis

Chandler Remodeling

10866 York Road
Cockeysville

Charm City Remodeling

278 Beckworth Ct
Severna Park

Chesapeake Home Designs

21 Truck House Road
Severna Park

Christopher Homes Inc.

2023 Telegraph Road
Pylesville

Clarksville Construction Services

9050 Red Branch Rd
Columbia

Concepts Response

3855 Rt 97
Glenwood

Cornerstone Contracting Company

4125 Manor View Ct
Jarrettsville

Cunningham Contracting Inc

1541 Defense Hwy
Gambrills

Dan Nichols Contractor

5777 White Rock Road
Sykesville

DAYSTAR CONTRACTING LLC

311 HAVERHILL RD
Joppa

Dertzbaugh Construction

7313 Grove Rd
Frederick

Dimitri's Home Improvement Inc

929 Stormont Cir
Halethorpe

DIRZUWEIT & SONS BUILDERS INC

1646 WHITEFORD RD
Darlington

East Coast Custom Construction LLC

3383 yellow SPGS. S
Laurel

Economy Home Improvements

1004 Hughes Shop Road
Westminster

Edge Energy

6854 Distribution Dr
Beltsville

EMA Contracting, LLC

213 N. Union Ave.
Havre De Grace

Emerick Contracting, LLC

5815 Gambrill Rd.
White Marsh

ENTERPRISE HOME IMPROVEMENT

7313 BEVERLY PARK DR

FIRE WORKS CLEANING

12210 CONWAY RD
Beltsville

Fischvogt General Contracting

3710 Beech venue
Baltimore

Floor Center

370 garrisonville rd

FMT Construction Services, LLC

2216 Queensbury Dr
Fallston

FRANZ CONTRACTORS,LLC

1305 KINGSBURY RD
Owings Mills

FULLFORCECONTRACTING INC

2735 ROWE ROAD
New Windsor

Glenn Construction LLC

1378 Defense Hwy
Gambrills

Glorified Homes , Inc

914 Priestford Rd
Darlington

GREAT WHITE CONSTRUCTION

27943 Oaklands Circle
Easton

Green Earth Companies, LLC.

1421 E. Baltimore Street
Baltimore

GSmulti-services

12 National Dr
Essex

H2Pro Restorations

243 Mine Bank Rd

Handy Hammer

8330 Pulaski Hwy.
Rosedale

Harbor Kitchen Design

6012 Harford Rd
Baltimore

Hayes Construction Company

14307 Jarrettsville Pike
Phoenix

HBKK Construction

4157 Mountain Road
Pasadena

Henry's Housework Inc

13433 Tilford Ct
Germantown

Highpoint Remodeling LLC

1418 Corbett Rd
Monkton

Home Contractors Plus

8402 Quill Point Dr
Bowie

Home Maintenance & Repairs, Inc.

1212 Schucks Road
Bel Air

Housefitters LLC

15 Worthington Dr

Howard Construction

3729 Wilkens Ave
Baltimore

I AM Painting, Remodeling & Roofing

2512 Pleasantville Rd
Fallston

Innovative Electric

313 Old Riverside Rd

INTERIOR IMAGES

5340 Enterprise St
Sykesville

Inti Enterprises, Luis Maldonado

1205 Overbrook Road
Baltimore

J R Lee Home Improvements, LLC

111 Horizon Dr
Millersville

JJM Home Improvements Inc

8185 Ritchie Hwy
Pasadena

John Shaw's Home Improvement

111 main st.
Savage

JVS General Contractor LLC

milford mill rd
Baltimore

K & B RESTORATIONS

6108 OLD BOHN RD
Mount Airy

Kat Construction Services, LLC

2108 Emmorton Park Rd
Edgewood

Kc Nicole Construction

2110 hanover pike

L&V Drywall LLC

5810 Post Corners Trail

L&V Quality Contractor LLC.

2419 Yarmouth lane

LandPro

1641 main street

Leon Builders LLC

2750 North Rosedale Street
Baltimore

LML Remodeling inc.

2505 Coon club rd
Westminster

M.D.M Restoration LLC

1002 Edgerly Road
Glen Burnie

Mac Construction Plus

7954 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd

Mahoney&Barrow

2219 williams drive

mapes Construction co.inc.

412 Barbersville rd

Mayer Builders Inc

Reisterstown

MDV Remodeling

5550 Friendship Blvd
Chevy Chase

MELESH CONSTRUCTION

PO Box 4818
Annapolis

Mercer Carpet One Floor & Home

26 W Main St
Westminster

Mercer Carpet One Floor & Home

10155 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City

MEYERS CONSTRUCTION CO

1121 GREENWOOD RD
Pikesville

micklos painting & drywall LLc

639 savage st
Baltimore

Miller Contracting Group, LLC

103 Chessie Court
Chester

Mr Mobile Home LLC

8016 catherine ave
Pasadena

NEW LIFE CONSTRUCTION CO

211 Mountain Rd.
Pasadena

Northwest Building Services

5 Sugarvale Way
Lutherville Timonium

NV Care

3605 oakmont Avenue

OZ Box, Inc.

807 Woodsdale Rd
Catonsille

Palmas Construction LLC

4942 Beech Street
Shady Side

Perryhall Remodeling

Jarrettsville

Phoenix Design & Build Group LLC

10505 Cedarville Road, Lot 6-5
Brandywine

Pinnacle improvements

8072 Woodholme Cir
Pasadena

Plastx USA

21 Dixon Avenue

Premier Decks & Patios

3127 Grier Nursery rd.
Forest Hill

Premier Roll Off Inc

P.O BOX 15434
Middle River

proline interiors inc.

3720 blenheim rd.
Phoenix

Property Restoration Services, LLC

501 W Main St
Emmitsburg

Quality Home Solutions, llc

7672 2nd Street
Pasadena

R.P. Covington Home Improvements, Inc.

7835 Elizabeth Rd
Pasadena

Red Head Rehabs

12004 Hatteras St

Regional Property Group

PO Box 270
Lusby

RIGADOM LLC

2800 Dorr Ave

RJB Electric LLC.

Randallstown

Rob's Home Improvement Inc

26 Macintosh Ct
Middle River

Rockers Inc

8804 Avenue B
Sparrows Point

Ryan Construction Co

8920 Avenue B
Sparrows Point

SED Home Services, LLC.

PO Box 482
Phoenix

SERVICE ALL INC

5731 TUXEDO RD
Hyattsville

Service All, Inc

12138 Central Ave
Bowie

Shadow industries inc

825 eastern blvd

SHEREMOS home remodeling and renovations

1819 W. Saratoga st
Baltimore

Shivani Investment CO., LLC

704 Allegheny Ave
Towson

Signature Remodeling Co LLC

431 Barnes Avenue
Westminster

Singh Construction

206 Back River Neck Rd
Essex

Snyder's Plumbing & Heating

8037 Mountain Laurel Rd
Boonsboro

Stonestreet Contracting

5518 N Annapolis Dr
Mount Airy

Suess Builders

1900 Eden Mill Rd
Pylesville

Suess Builders

1900 Eden Mill Rd
Pylesville

Superior Design & Restoration

8902 Cowenton Rd
Perry Hall

Testament Construction Group, LLC

1514 Burke Road
Baltimore

The Lane Group LLC

18704 Brick Store Rd
Hampstead

Tugwell Construction Company

7202 Rockland Hills Dr
Baltimore

VAK Construction Company, LLC

3739 E LOMBARD ST
Baltimore

Well Constructed Home Services

6380 Woodburn Ave.
Elkridge

Whispering Pines Construction

401 Wilgis Rd
Fallston

Whites Contracting

4023 orchard ave

WOMACK CONSTRUCTION

21 SILOPANNA RD
Annapolis

ZACHARY PAINTING

40 VIRGINIA AVE

Zero handyman Services

4346 Shamrock Ave
Baltimore

Zigi Home Remodeling

2718 Piscataway Run Dr
Odenton

ZNS Custom Decks and Additions

PO Box 328`
Whiteford

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