Archive for the 'Contractor Issues' Category

Book: The E-Myth Contractor

I have such respect and compassion for contractors and subcontractors. Most of them “came up through the trades,” as they put it, often learning construction skills like carpentry or electrical from their fathers, uncles or family friends. As young guys, they are strong and praised for going at it, getting it done, muscling through. Later [...]

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Contractor red flags

When you work with a contractor: things generally start out great and then go downhill. As the job progresses you’ll likely get weary, overwhelmed, and angry. To help you survive this experience — which will drain you every which way imaginable — you need a contractor who is ethical, organized, financially fit, and tuned in [...]

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My fantasy: Outsourcing home remodeling

Wouldn’t life be much easier if we could outsource home remodeling? I have a recurring dream . . . I do a Control-C on my house, like on a computer file, and make a digital copy of my house. I keep living in the original house, and send the copy around the world to get [...]

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California students win national construction competition

Last week, more than 5,000 high school and community college students descended upon Kansas City to compete in the national conference of SkillsUSA, formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). Skill competitions include carpentry, plumbing, welding, computer graphics, cosmetology, dental assisting, auto repair, and firefighting, plus many, many more. See the full amazing [...]

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Is your next-door neighbor doing foundation work without a contractor? Better check your insurance policy

A home improvement saga is playing out in San Francisco where a house being worked on by a young couple collapsed and crashed into the house next door. According to this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the couple had bought a distressed 1909 bungalow for $524,000, said to be the cheapest house for sale [...]

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35 California contractors lost their licenses in April (but that’s not news)

Why is it not news that licenses were revoked from 35 California contractors in one month? That’s because a similar number of revocations by the California Contractors State License Board happens month after month, year after year. The real news might be the 295,000 contractors in the state who didn’t lose their licenses. Who needs [...]

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The Seven Sins of Remodeling

Pacific Palisades building contractor Gordon Gibson offers clients a tip sheet of common remodeling mistakes, as was reported in the Palisadian-Post. The sins are: 1. PRIDE: “I can do everything myself; I don’t need any help!” 2. LUST: “I must work with this architect on my home, under any circumstance. If I don’t, I can’t [...]

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Burbank electrical company accused of ripping people off

An electrical contractor operating in Burbank at 211 N. Victory Blvd. under the name of City Wide Electric, Lic. No. 873106 (look up the license number here), is being investigated by the California Contractors State License Board for allegedly ripping off customers. According to the board, the company, which operates under several names across the [...]

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Hiring subcontractors? Bernie has some advice

When Bernie and Val Van De Yacht wanted to gut and remodel their small North Hollywood kitchen for $15,000, they decided to forego the expense of a general contractor and hire subcontractors directly to do the various jobs: demolition, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall, masonry, countertops and flooring. With his persistent personality, Bernie (pictured) excelled at [...]

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Getting older? Me neither

But it could happen. And if it does, we can delay moving to an old folks home by making some changes in our own homes. For instance, it will help of we can open the doors (even with arthritic fingers), if we can see clearly, and if tripping hazards are eliminated. To help with needed [...]

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Can this guy be helped? I don’t know

I found this cry for help from a retired police officer posted on the website of Professional Remodeler, a contractor magazine. I need HELP! I had my Ranch Home renovated in Sept. 2006 by a Contractor from HELL! He has started many jobs and finished NONE. My home is a wreck! I added on 18 [...]

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Weekend exercise: Check a contractor’s license number

I hope I don’t hear this story again — that someone hired a contractor they later found out was unlicensed, or whose license had expired or been suspended. Instead of that, we should all do a little exercise together: Check on a contractor’s license number. Just for fun. Just for giggles. Just for kicks. (For [...]

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Changing course: You hate to do it, but sometimes you gotta

It was just after the demolition phase of his kitchen remodel that Ian Denchasy realized he was in way over his head. It was a simple mistake. He started out with a plan to replace some cabinets and got carried away. By the time the entire kitchen was gutted, and the ceiling punched up to [...]

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Ask a Green Builder: Dennis Allen

Ever wonder about the durability of bamboo floors? The benefits of thicker insulation? The rebates available for adding solar power? The cost vs. value of new windows? Dennis Allen, a nationally recognized green builder in Santa Barbara, is on hand today and tomorrow, the 29th and 30th, to answer your online green remodeling questions. Topics [...]

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Ask a Contractor: Alon Toker

Ever wish you could ask a licensed contractor some remodeling questions with no hint of pressure to sign a contract? Here is your chance. This week’s guest expert, contractor Alon Toker, will be answering your remodeling questions online through Sunday. Here are the facts: Name: Alon Toker Title: President Company: Mega Builders, Chatsworth Contractor’s License [...]

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Four Southern California Remodeling Contractors Honored

Everybody knows there are problems in the remodeling industry — shady contractors, shoddy work, sloppy business practices. But the thing is, are you going to spend all your energy focusing on the negative? Or will you spend at least equal time seeking out the awesome, ethical, exceptional standouts in the industry? If you understand the [...]

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Pardon Our Dust Classic: Grappling with indecision

The fact that Judy and Roy Uehara’s dingy, cramped 27-year-old kitchen and adjacent family room were transformed into a luminous, elegant, granite- and maple-infused great room is a triumph of sorts (as, indeed, are most remodels). The first hurdle was the sensitive timing of the renovation, which, for financial reasons, had to be done after [...]

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Know any good contractors?

Have you used a Southern California remodeling contractor who deserves a shout-out, someone you would recommend to your neighbors? If so, please post a comment. Tell us: — What is the name and city of the contractor who did your remodel? — What kind of job did the contractor do for you? Kitchen? Bath? Etc. [...]

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Why competitive bidding doesn’t work

Perhaps you’ve heard this quip when a spacecraft is launched: “There goes the lowest bid.” In my mind, trying to get the lowest bid for a remodeling project is just as foolish. And a lot of contractors agree with me. Gayler Construction explains very clearly how buying remodeling services is not even remotely like buying [...]

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Contractor fed flags: Were there any?

I’ve been writing about remodeling for 17 years, and so you can imagine the contractor horror stories I’ve heard. But I’m interested in what happened before the contractor was hired. Were there no warnings? No indications? No red flags? I’m convinced that there were, and that those signs were ignored, glossed over, excused. Maybe you [...]

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