Below are answers to some questions we’ve gotten in the past, and friends have told us might be helpful.
What kind of work are we licensed for?
We are licensed in the state of California as a General Contractor (class B). Our license number is #1034503. You can check on the status of our license (and all bonding, worker’s comp information, etc.) on the state’s website.
How long have we been in business?
We formed our company in 2013 after we renovated our first home together. We had both always had an interest in building and renovating, and working on our first home together pushed us into making it our career. You can read more about us here.
What areas do we work In?
We work all over the Bay Area! We primarily work in San Francisco and Oakland. But serve much of the East Bay and Alameda Country and stage homes in Marin County and Contra Costa county as well.
What type of insurance do we carry?
We carry current insurance and related docs in the following:
- A Contractor’s bond
- An LLC/Employee worker’s bond
- Worker’s Compensation insurance
- Liability insurance
Does my project need a permit?
Every city has different requirements as to what jobs require permits. When going over your project with you, that is something we are happy to go over with you.
Who’s responsible for acquiring permits?
That’s up to you, however we would like to be responsible for acquiring permits. A permit gives the city information as to who is responsible for the work going on at a project. If you acquire the permit, you will be responsible for scheduling all inspections, being present at inspections, etc. In our experience if homeowners acquire permits themselves, projects generally incur delays as it is a process that they are (understandably so) unfamiliar with.
Can you provide a list of references?
Of course, please do not hesitate to ask us! We keep an updated list and are happy to provide you with prior client’s email addresses to inquire about their experience working with us.
What is your process from project inquiry to starting work?
When we receive an inquiry from a client, one of the first questions we get is how much we think the work will cost. Without having seen someone’s home, this is of course impossible to answer. If a prospective client already has plans drawn up from an architect or engineer we can give a rough idea. If they do not, we ask that they answer a form set of questions we have developed over the years. Sometimes clients find this list daunting, however, most of the questions take only seconds to answer. Once a customer has answered these questions we are able to give a rough range of what we think the project will cost. If that number is something they are comfortable with, Chris and I schedule a site visit to go over the project in more detail, take our own measurements, photos, ask necessary questions, etc. Then we put together a formal proposal. If you’re happy with us and the proposal, then we can get to work!
What are the types of projects we take on?
What are the expected timelines for a project?
Timelines vary from project to project. We make sure to let clients know about how long we anticipate their project to take when we submit a proposal. Generally speaking we give a range in time, as that helps customers understand that we hope to be able to complete their job correctly and quickly, but challenges may arise that impact the timeline.
What is the payment schedule?
Payment schedules vary project by project. We always require an amount upon signature of a contract. This amount is either 10% of the project, or $1,000, whichever is less. In our proposal we give a payment schedule where installment payments are due when various goals have been met (demo completed, inspections passed, etc.) When your project is complete, the balance is paid. This is usually the largest sum as we always ensure that clients are not paying down their contracted amount ahead of schedule.
How will your project be supervised? Will we be on site every day?
The nature of our work is that sometimes we have multiple projects going at one time. And there may be times where only our tiler is on site. Or there is an emergency at another site and we are pulled away. We do our absolute best to check on jobs each day, and if not each day we check in with our subs to make sure things are still progressing smoothly.
How will additional charges be dealt with?
If problems arise on a jobsite that require a change order, we do not perform additional work unless we have received written permission that additional charges and work have been approved.
How do we resolve any disagreements?
With patience, emails and (air) hugs. It’s inevitable that conflicts will arise, and we have encountered some in our time. We can discuss how goals may have shifted, if there is an element someone isn’t happy with, etc. Our hope is that clients feel comfortable enough with us to let us know early on if something isn’t working so that we can make sure to nip things in the bud as quickly as possible. Our goal is to always try to make clients as happy as we can and do the best job possible.
Do we provide a warranty?
We do provide a warranty for defects in workmanship for up to a year.
Why don’t you charge more?
We have invested tens of thousands in the best tools to help us work more efficiently. We have worked on refining the building process wherever possible to work smarter not harder. We constantly try to improve our process to look for inefficiencies. We don’t take excessively long breaks. We strive to remain busy at all times while on the job site because time is money.
Why don’t you charge less?
We have families and all that goes with that. We strive to keep a healthy work/life balance for us and our subs/employees. We have overhead like any business and more than some others who may cut corners. Some expenses include: workers’ compensation insurance, GL insurance of $2 million, $1 million bond, vehicle insurance, gas, vehicle maintenance, replacement of stolen tools (last year this line item was over $13k), business licenses, professional fees, LLC fees, utilities, storage space, etc. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that customers may not see, but all of it needs to be done to complete your project – material handling, supplier correspondence and payment, general job requirements like site protection, trash handling, etc.
Can I see a cost breakdown?
We do not provide customers with detailed cost breakdowns as to how much is assigned to each trade, task or material.
Do you hire subcontractors?
We do. We have worked in the construction industry for 10+ years and have acquired a very loyal list of electricians, tilers, plumbers, framers, etc. that we are more than happy to call in for help on larger projects that require more hands on deck.
What’s the best way to get in touch?
We love email. While so many people prefer texts nowadays, we find text messages can very easily get buried in the minutia of the day. We are incredibly active on email, use our inbox as our to do list and can easily refer back to something a client may have asked, approved or given notes on. For general questions you are welcome to fill out our form questionnaire, or feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org