Hell0, My name is Dan Loebrich. I have been in business since 1979 and provide residential remodeling services to homeowners in Cambria, Blair, Somerset, Bedford, Indiana and Westomoreland Counties. My company is fully insured and registered and licensed with the PA Attorney General's Office. My employees are trained and certified to work on homes built prior to 1978 which may contain lead paint.
A few words about remodeling contracting:
During the 39 years in which I've been in business, I still haven't seen it all...but I have seen plenty. Just about every week I meet someone who has suffered from doing business with a substandard remodeling contractor. All too often people take the lowest price or someone who "does it on the side" because they don't realize that buying remodeling is not the same as buying gas or bread. It involves a wide variety and quality level of the products being installed, as well as, the skill, experience, and integrity of the people doing the work. The old saying " you get what you pay for" is very true when it comes to remodeling contracting. The price you pay is important, but what you get for what you pay is what really matters. The problem with contracting is that very often you can't know what you are getting until your project is finished.
Experts recommended getting at least three estimates to be sure you get the best deal. This is what the government does when spending taxpayer money. (oh we all know how well that works)
If you want to be certain of the best deal based solely on price...in order to compare apples to apples at the minimum you will need to do the following:
- Hire an architect to do the design and specify all the products to be used .
- Write detailed specifications for all the contractors to ensure that every bid is for the exact same thing.
- Do background checks.
- Request certificates of insurance for liability and workers comp on each bidder.
- Determine to what degree do they sub-contract work because obviously that can affect quality and price.
- Finally you could compare bids and pick the lowest price.
(I have never met a homeowner with desire, time or patience to do all of the above but that's what it takes to compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges when buying based on price.)
Most of the unhappy customers I meet tell a similar story:
They get a couple bids, but no one really talks about what brand or quality, or what kind of fasteners or trim, or who does the work. or the hours they work etc, etc...
They go with the lowest or next to lowest price. And who can blame them since price is the only thing they have to compare. The contractor tells them he is insured, and licensed and so on, but never shows anything in writing.
Then when the job starts they:
- Hope the remodeling contractor shows up every day.
- Hope the remodeling contractor will do what he said he would.
- Hope he will finish the job.
- Hope he will call back when they have a concern.
- Hope he will provide service if there is a problem after the job is done.
- He needs half of the money up front to get going.
- He needs some more money to cover things he didn't think about before.
- He needs some more money because it's Friday and he has to pay his guys then he will be back next week to finish.
"That was 2 years ago and we haven't seen him since and he won't return our calls."
Let's use a Bathroom Remodel as an example...
Put some thought into want you want. Ceramic Tile, or Sheet Vinyl?, Cast Iron Tub or Walk-In Shower?
What kind of Fixtures and Colors etc.?
You can get a good idea of what your project should cost by checking out the COST VS VALUE REPORT
If you are going to be financing then you should figure out what amount of money/ payment you are comfortable with. Knowing this up front really speeds up the whole shopping process.
You can do some of your research on remodeling contractors before you call them by going to THE BBB. THE PA ATTORNEY GENERAL CONTRACTOR SITE and even general searches online.
Make a list of questions about things that are important to you.
Call your local borough or township office and ask if a building permit is needed for your project. Permits are a good thing for the customer, because they usually involve project inspections that may uncover defective or sub-standard work.
- When you meet with contractors don't be afraid to give them a budget. Remember its what you get for what you pay that matters. You will already have a ballpark idea from Cost vs. Value Report and similar sites online.
- Make sure you have all the decision makers present to meet with the contractor. To not do so is unfair to all parties, but most of all to the person who is not there.
- Ask the contractor for references.
- Ask to see Proof of Insurance and PA State Registration in writing.
- If your home was built before 1978 ask to see the contractors EPA CERTIFICATION in case your project will disturb surfaces that may contain LEAD PAINT.
- Ask the contractor if a Permit is needed. ( "no... not really" is not an acceptable answer)
- Take notes during your meeting so you don't forget important items when writing the contract.
- Meet with enough contractors so that you have someone you feel comfortable with who you feel will give you what you are paying for and treat you honestly. Someone who is a good communicator and returns your calls and answers your questions in a reasonable amount of time.
- Make sure you have a written contract including all the details for your project including a payment schedule.
- Don't pay them in full until the job is done. Legitimate delays can and do happen. It's not fair to withhold thousands of dollars over a few unfinished items but it is both fair and prudent to withhold an appropriate amount for unfinished work. (Remember the contractor who has to pay his guys then will be back next week?) A good rule of thumb might be 2 times what it would cost you to pay someone else to finish.
- Voice your questions and concerns to your remodeling contractor as soon as they arise. The sooner you address your concern the sooner you will get an answer.
How We Do Business:
- Set appointment with homeowners.
- Show up on time or call.
- Listen to your ideas and concerns.
- Tell you about us.
- Determine if we can be of service...we strive to have GOOD OUTCOMES FOR EVERYONE
- Schedule a follow-up meeting as needed.
- Make suggestions.
- Give you a written proposal with a firm price.
- Do the job as specified.
- Not collect the final payment until all the work is done and correct.
- Give you a written warranty at completion.
- Immediate availability for any concerns after the job.
Loebrich Contracting has built our reputation of satisfied customers by backing up what we say. We will show up on time, give you a written contract, give you a written waranty and always call you back if you have a a concern after we finish. Please take time to visit our testimonial page. Also please visit our accreditation page.