You want to invest in a patio cover that adds value to your home.
Selecting the right contractor for the job will give you
the confidence you need from the start.
This page should be very valuable in selecting a contractor.
After being in the construction business for over 25 years in Houston, I have seen a lot of things.
I hope that my expertise will assist you.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT.
1. The first thing you want to do is decide if you want something cheap
or something that may cost a little more but will pay off in the long run.
The patio cover you choose should match your home flawlessly. If it looks like an add-on,
you have added shade but little to no value to your home.
So, the choice is yours.
2. When selecting a contractor, use your head! There are so many scammers that come through Houston.
Some guys change cities yearly. Look for a contractor that is established and
is well known throughout the business community.
Any reputable contractor should be able to take you to jobs that are 5 - 10 years old.
He should also be able to give you both recent and older references.
Insist on looking at an older job. Fresh paint and new work will always "wow" you.
3. PATIO COVERS ARE NON TAXABLE !!!! It is against the law to tax you for an addition to your home. Why?
Because when the materials are incorporated into or affixed to your home, it becomes real property.
Real property or real estate is not taxed.
If a contractor adds tax to his proposal, ask him to leave. He is a thief.
4. Beware of the Middle Man. They SELL, SELL, SELL! That is what drives them.
No company in Houston, Texas has an all-inclusive operation.
For instance, you want a patio cover. But you would also like to have a
new concrete slab, tile, flagstone, landscaping, gutters, etc.
You can have your contractor provide all of these services, which may be more convenient.
But remember, you are paying for that service. That is called a "MARK-UP".
It ranges from 25% to 65% above the price that a sub-contractor charges.
A good contractor will give you the option of saving you money.
He can and should provide you a list of other contractors
that he respects to help you get the entire job done.
If you ask for that, and he refuses, throw the bum out of your house.
5. Don't be talked into something you don't want! So many times I see photos of projects that just don't fit the home.
Yes, some things are so beautiful and attractive that it is hard to say no. But is it for you?
6. When building a patio cover, some things are a given: fans, recessed lighting, speaker wire, etc.
Don't forget to ask for these things. When it comes to fans, it is a whole lot cheaper to ask your
contractor to wire for a fan or two than to hire an electrician later. When choosing outdoor fans,
look on the internet and some of the more upscale lighting centers if you want more than just the standard.
7. Make sure that you get your HOA (homeowners association) approval.
DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT, start the project until you have their approval in a letter in your hand.
I have seen several HOA's force homeowners to take down their patio covers.
If a contractor gives you some lame excuses like," Oh, they won't see it.
It's in the backyard," or "Once it's built, there is nothing they can do,
" throw the bum out of your house!
8. MONEY! The great thing about being in business for a long time is that you establish credit.
You have employees. That means that this person or company is on the right track.
Upon signing a contract, NEVER give a company more than what is required for permits, applications, and drawings.
If you are in city limits and/or windstorm area... engineer drawings, city permit fees, and windstorm certificates should cost no more than $1,500.00. This should be the maximum you put down upon signing a contract. Some will use the excuse that they need it to buy materials.
Your response should be, "ARE YOU BROKE"? DO YOU NOT HAVE CREDIT?"
Any reputable contractor doing a job between $5,500.00 and $20,000.00
should be able to handle most material and labor costs until the job is finished.
Jobs that are more than that should require no more than 1/3 down after the material is delivered.
The balance would be payable upon completion.
We have all heard of cases of people being ripped off after giving half down. Don't be a statistic.
If a contractor refuses to start a job without money down, it is time to consider a different contractor.
In Houston, there are some great companies that do outstanding work.
I know many of them personally and I don't mind referring them if people want to get other bids.
We do not compete. We compliment each other. Some offer this and some offer that.
Some even have really great-looking salesmen!
But all kidding aside, be wise when you choose a contractor.
Make sure that you are, at the beginning of the job, confident that,
"This was the best choice that I could have made."
I hope that I have enlightened you with some tips on building a patio cover and selecting a contractor.
If you need further advice or assistance, feel free to contact me, Dylan Hamilton, at 832-473-8249
or E-MAIL me at firstname.lastname@example.org .