Choosing the Right Home Remodeling Contractor Can be Stressful
These Questions Will Tell You a Lot
About the Way Each Home Remodeling Contractor Conducts Business
The questions on this page are the ones that we have been asked most often by our clients and prospective clients.
The best strategy is to ask each contractor that you seriously consider hiring to provide their answers in writing. This will help you to eliminate those contractors that might not have the cleanest record or the experience you need for your project.
At Harbour Towne Construction we welcome the steps taken by the State of Georgia to protect homeowners from unscrupulous contractors.
Tom Dwyer welcomes your questions. He has over 30 years of experience and his company has successfully completed over 500 total remodeling projects in the last 15 years in the Atlanta metro area.
If you want to add an addition for extra space, or if you want to update with a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a finished basement, a porch, or you want to improve the layout and enjoyment of your entire home with a whole house remodeling project we can help.
We provide our design build and remodeling services in Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell, Decatur, Vinings, Marietta, East Cobb, Alpharetta, Duluth, Chamblee, Doraville, Norcross, Tucker, Lilburn and Stone Mountain.
Our success is based on performing to the standards we have set every day.
We invite you to ask us all the questions you can think of and we will provide you with our answers in writing. You can reach us via phone or email from 8 AM to 6 PM on normal business days.
We return all unanswered and non-emergency calls by 1 PM for morning calls and by 6 PM for afternoon calls before 4pm on normal business days.
Yes. Tom Dwyer is licensed with a Residential-Light Commercial Contractor license. He is the qualifying agent for Harbour Towne Construction, Inc. and his license number is RLQA002160. Harbour Towne Construction is licensed and the company license number is RLCO001958.
The Georgia General Assembly created the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors in 2004 to regulate individuals engaged in construction contracting. Applicants for licensure must pass a two-part examination covering the license they are attempting to obtain, business and law. This law went into effect July 1st, 2008. The full details can be found at http://www.sos.georgia.gov/plb/contractors/default.htm
Homeowners and business owners that hire someone without a license endanger the safety and welfare of other people and they undercut other contractors that operate within the law.
For every story you may have heard about a friend getting a “great deal” there is another story about a homeowner that got taken.
A contractor that operates outside of the licensing requirements is cheating the government and they are just as likely to cheat you. Avoiding them is just a smart idea.
Two surveys conducted in 2007 and in 2011 by a consulting firm for the contracting industry found that 35% of home remodeling, home improvement and design build companies that advertise in directories were out of business within 5 years.
Unfortunately some owners will close up one business when they run into quality or credit problems and then open up another company with a similar name.
We recommend that you request the following information from any company you seriously consider hiring.
Harbour Towne Construction, Inc. and Tom Dwyer will supply you with all of our required information at our first meeting.
Yes. There are far too many choices and variable in any construction project to give a ball park estimate.
For example, your choice of cabinets, countertops, appliances and fixtures can have a dramatic impact on your final investment. Attempting to come up with a ball park estimate without knowing all of the details is certain to result in an estimate that won’t be close to the final number.
We have successfully completed kitchens for $25,000 to $80,000. This type of range or “ballpark” won’t give you much of a clue.
Some contractors will deliberately give you a low number to entice you. They know that once a project is started that there will plenty of places to “jack up the price”. They also know that once a project is started it will be a huge pain to fire them.
We don’t work that way.
We first will meet with you to get a complete understanding of your needs and desires; we meet with you in person and ask you a lot of very specific questions. We will then be able to create a design for your approval.
Once you approve the design, we will prepare a fixed price proposal for your review.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of our approach to your project and why avoiding contractors that will give you a “ball park” estimate should be avoided. Considering them just isn’t in your best interest or professional.
It simply means that we will design your project and then once you approve the design we build it
If you want to add on for extra living space, or simply improve the layout and functionality of your home by renovating your kitchen, bathrooms, master bedroom, home office, outdoor kitchen or pool area let us show you how our design and build experience can help make your dream a reality.
We provide our design build and remodeling services in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell, Decatur, Vinings, Marietta, East Cobb, Alpharetta, Duluth, Chamblee, Doraville, Norcross, Tucker, Lilburn and Stone Mountain.
We believe they are. Tom Dwyer was one of the first remodelers in the US to attain this prestigious designation and he has maintained it since 1991.
The Certified Remodeler CR program from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is a challenging program that approximately 800 remodeling contractors have been able to complete. Considering that there are an estimated 100,000 remodeling contractors in the US, this is quite an achievement.
There will always be challenges in individual projects and all of the training and experience helps us understand how to overcome them. Less experienced remodeling companies will be getting on-the-job training at your expense and that can lead to a bad experience.
We believe they can be. Harbour Towne Construction has been recognized a number of times since 1993 for outstanding quality in the home remodeling industry in Atlanta.
If you take into account that there are easily more than 500 remodeling contractors in the Atlanta metro area, being named to the Atlanta Business Chronicles List of Atlanta’s Top 25 Residential Remodeling Contractors in 2009 and 2008 is quite an accomplishment.
We provide our design build and remodeling services in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell, Decatur, Vinings, Marietta, East Cobb, Alpharetta, Duluth, Chamblee, Doraville, Norcross, Tucker, Lilburn and Stone Mountain. .
Most likely no, but if you really want to find out how consistent a contractor’s work is then ask for at least 15 references and check them out thoroughly by using the questions on our references page.
Most contractors only provide 3 references. Since even small remodeling contractors complete 25 projects every couple of years, it is pretty easy to find 3 people that liked your work.
If you’re thinking about building an addition for extra living space, or simply improving the layout and functionality of your home by renovating your kitchen, bathrooms or master bedroom but you’re hesitant because you heard about or had a bad experience in the past – we understand.
This is important information - Due to the economy, many out of area companies and many commercial companies have entered the Atlanta market to stay alive. Make sure you ask for 15 local references. If a company isn’t familiar with the local building regulations and local inspection requirements in the Atlanta area then your project can come to a complete stop. This is likely to cost the contractor a lot more money to complete your job and if they can’t pass the cost on to you, they may simply walk away.
Harbour Towne Construction is pleased to present over 50 references from past clients and we strongly encourage you to call them and ask the tough questions.
It probably won’t surprise you that due to the economy in the Atlanta area in the last few years that people that got laid off or had done handyman type work on the side decided that they could become full time home remodelers.
Another thing that you may not know is that some commercial construction companies entered the residential remodeling market to stay alive.
You don’t want to make the mistake of hiring any of those companies because they will be learning the remodeling business at your expense.
Harbour Towne Construction will provide you with our bank and vendor references at our first meeting.
No. This is one more area that many companies (even quality ones) will look to save money by cutting their insurance coverage and hope that “nothing goes wrong”.
In Georgia, a contractor must be licensed through the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors to legally perform residential construction or remodeling projects.
To hold a Residential-Light Commercial Contractor license in Georgia, the contractor must maintain $500,000 of General Liability plus Workers Compensation insurance.
You can protect yourself and your family by taking these steps:
Our insurance agent will provide you with our documentation so you can feel comfortable that our insurance is current.
Note: You may not be aware that in Georgia, Workers Compensation is NOT required for companies of three persons or less. However, a smart contractor requires his subcontractors have the necessary insurance to keep his costs down. If an uninsured subcontractor is injured he will automatically make a claim against the general contractor and potentially against the homeowner. You don’t want to find this out after there is an accident on your property.
Tom Dwyer spends a considerable amount of time up front detailing all aspects of your project and anticipating possible pitfalls based on successfully completing over 500 total home remodeling projects in the last 15 years.
Simply put – a fixed price agreement lets you know what your project is going to cost including all of the details of materials and processes. It eliminates the “fudge factor” many contractors build in.
This is in sharp contrast to what many of our competitors do.
If this is your dream project, don’t take the risk of hiring a contractor that has a price that is “too good to be true”. We all buy our materials from the same suppliers and if they are paying their employees and subcontractor a fair wage then their bid should be in line.
If a contractor provides a quote that is 15% or more below the next lowest bid, it isn’t the same job. It can’t be because there isn’t that much profit in a typical home remodeling project and no one works for free. If you accept that bid, you will either end up with quality issues or paying more than the original quote.
This is a great question. This is especially important if you are considering a larger company. You want to make sure you are getting their most experienced team and not the team that is learning on your dime.
It is a smart idea to ask very specific questions about the experience of the supervisor that will be in charge of your project.
We use a pre-construction checklist, a Critical Path scheduling program and have weekly project updates with you to keep your project on time and to keep you in the loop.
All of our planning and controsl are essential elements of keeping your project on schedule.
If you want to add an addition for extra space, or if you want to update with a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a finished basement, or you want to improve the layout and enjoyment of your entire home with a whole house remodeling project our systems will keep your project on schedule.
We provide our design build and remodeling services in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell, Decatur, Vinings, Marietta, East Cobb.
We understand how important it is for you to be kept up to date on your project.
If you have ever worked with a contractor that always seem to be apologizing for not getting back to you sooner, we are 100% confident that your experience with us will be much more pleasant.
There are so many more things that we do to keep your project moving toward completion and we will be pleased to share them at our first meeting.
Unless there are circumstances that we can’t control like weather or delayed inspections, we stay on your project every day until it is completed. Heck that is the only way we are going to get paid.
Every long project will have a few days when we need to coordinate deliveries, set up inspections, coordinating specialty trades and more. So on some days you may not see us but we are still working on your project.
Our ongoing communications keep you informed so you won’t be left wondering.
We design your project and then use a pre-construction checklist, a formal scheduling system and weekly project updates to keep your project on time.
We provide a 5-year warranty for the labor and installation on all design build and home remodeling projects.
We provide our design build and remodeling services in Alpharetta, Duluth, Chamblee, Doraville, Norcross, Tucker, Lilburn and Stone Mountain.
No. We do review this and many other items in our pre-construction checklist before we start your project.
We may need to contact you during the day to answer your questions or to get your input on other items. .
This is an area where we believe our systems far exceed those of our competitors.
Harbour Towne Construction utilizes multiple tools to move your project to completion by the promised completion date.
We will ask for access to a sink that we can use for cleanup but will make other arrangements if that isn’t possible.
We also use a written daily cleanup checklist to make sure the site is secure and safe for your children and pets at the end of each workday.
It simply means that we will design your project and then once you approve the design we build it
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed a new law that became effective on April 22, 2010. The law is designed to protect homeowners, their families and contractors that work on their home from the risks of lead hazards.
The use of lead based paint was discontinued after 1977 but if your home was built before 1978 it is very likely that it contains lead based paint.
Home remodeling projects typically have sanding, cutting and demolition of existing parts of your home. Any of these construction activities can create a health risk for your family by disturbing lead-based paints. As a past President and Board Member of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, I support this law that helps protect homeowners and their families from this risk.
Lead based paint can cause some very nasty health issues.
Harbor Towne Construction was one of the first home remodeling contractors in the Atlanta area to be certified under the new law.
Unfortunately, some remodeling contractors are still not certified. The best advice I can give you is to cross them off of your list. If you do hire them you could be exposing your family and your children to lead poisoning.
Take the simple step of asking for proof of their certification before you meet with them.
Many Home Remodeling Companies FAIL in the FIRST 5 Years....
Harbour Towne Construction has been
in Business Continuously since 1979