Two readers looking for contractors

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - Jun• 16•08

The economy might be picking up. Folks are looking for contractors:

Palm Desert/Coachella Valley

Thanks for your words of caution regarding tips to research a contractor for remodeling. I am considering buying a property that was foreclosed upon while a remodel was in process. Whether it is for this house or another, I will need to hire a contractor in an area where I have never before lived–the Palm Desert/Coachella Valley area. Any information you might provide would be welcome. Thank you. — Susan

Los Angeles

I’ve read these posts with great interest as I am embarking on a major remodel in Los Angeles. I am having a heck of a time finding a good general contractor. Was wondering if you could recommend one. Send e-mail to mittj@yahoo.com. Thanks. — Jeff

Any suggestions?

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5 Comments

  1. Milla says:

    my contractor was fabulous. highly recommend him for any job. he revamped the interior of my new home and gave me the lowest price of all the estimates. his name is Platon Markarian, company is Da Vinci Group. phone number: 818.279.3118. please try him.

  2. For the reader in the LA area looking for a general contractor, I would highly recommend Bethanis, inc. (818-842-2300). Their work on our home was excellent, with everything coming in on time and on budget. Working with them was such a terrific experience, we’re planning a kitchen remodel and master suite addition later this year. If you’d like, you can see more at my Pardon Our Dust guest blogs:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/2007/11/guest-blogger-p.html
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/2007/12/guest-blogger-p.html
    Good luck with your remodel!

  3. Scptt says:

    After my disastrous remodel/addition in 2006, I vow never to do anything like it again. Los Angeles is simply too big, my friends. If a contractor screws up a job, so what, they don’t really have to worry about word of mouth as they would in a much smaller city. My best advice is not to do anything you can’t subcontract yourself. You will be paying a huge premium for a general contract to organize, manage, and if you think you can trust them and not make daily visits to check on their work, think again. If you have plenty of money, hire an independent site manager, otherwise you will be losing sleep over arguments with the contractor. Some of them will charge you for managing the site themselves, then leave their crew alone most of the day. If this still sounds good, and you still insist upon remodeling, even if someone swears on a stack of Bibles about their wonderful contractor, demand a list of their clients, architects and engineers they have worked for in the past. If they seem at all reluctant, you can be sure there were problems they’d rather you know know about. Choose from a list of at least four or five, and don’t choose based on the lowest bid, because this merely might mean the lowest bidder has not done his/her homework. My cement work was wildly underbid but do you think the cement subcontractor absorbed the cost? Of course not, they simply refused to fininsh the job. It was highway robbery and if I had sued, I would have to hire someone else and the new subcontractor would not guarantee the work already done. Am I scaring you yet? Good. Also do not sign a contract without a penalty clause. If they say they can finish the job in six months, this will mean nothing if there is no penalty. Hire a lawyer (it will be worth every cent) to put in clauses of money and possibly even putting you up in a hotel or paying your rent for the time they go over the deadline. It’s up to them to estimate loss of time because of weather. If they don’t know how, then they aren’t experienced enough. You see, without a penalty deadline, they won’t be motivated to get the subcontractors on the site, fire the ones who don’t show up, etc. Over the year and a half it took my project, I heard every excuse imaginable. “I got locked out.” “My truck was stolen.” “My wife was sick.” Maybe, and but most likely they were at their other job. Chances are if they have tougher client, they are putting all their energy into another job while you show up at your house and no one is there for days at a time. There’s more, much more. There are loads of hidden costs, for example, like independent inspections that will not be reflected in the bids. Be smart and do your homework, and remember that it is the very rare exception that does not go over budget. In my case it was about 40%. Be afraid, be very afraid. I’m sure there are one or two honest, competent, reliable contractors in Los Angeles. if you find them, they are worth their weight in gold.

  4. Hi Susan,
    I live in La Quinta, CA. I am half owner of Cabinets Etc. in Palm Desert. My business partner and I have talk of how the bad and or unlicensed contractors give the whole industry a bad name. We have found many good contractors that we work with and it’s a shame that the customer has to feel so uneasy in this regard. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and is in fact where 90% of our work comes from. I don’t understand how some of these contractors continue to get work. Check them out on the states contractors website and follow up on references. Good luck, Charlie http://www.cabinetsetc.biz

  5. Hi jeff,
    If you are still looking for an honest, affortable Los angeles contractor, please send us an email or call us.

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