Real Time Web Analytics

Ideas on how to choose a contractor

Ask for references. Past projects may be the only way to judge a contractors work. (I’m proud of my past projects and I encourage people to contact my references).  Here are a few questions you might like to as:

  1. Was the project completed in a timely and business-like fashion?
  2. Did the financial arrangements go smoothly?
  3. Were they happy with the quality of the workmanship?
  4. Would they use the contractor again?

When considering different contractors, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you feel comfortable with this contractor?  Will you have a person and   business-like relationship?
  2. Is the contractor qualified and capable of the project? Can he maintain your standard of quality?
  3. Does the contractor carry Workers Compensation Insurance and General Liability Insurance?
  4. Does the contractor provide a written proposal with fair, honest prices?
  5. Can the contractor work with changes in the project?  Often changes in design can be made prior to the actual building and can be made to the owner’s advantage. (I try to be flexible).
  6. Is the contractor efficient with time and materials?


BIDS:  A bid is a proposal to complete a project for a specified amount of money.  All aspects of construction must be described as closely as possible. Types of doors, windows, cabinets, etc. should be described or allowances given for the unknown amounts.  Scheduled payments are also stated in the proposal.

  • Advantages:  The total costs are already known.
  • Disadvantages:  Less room for flexibility, overall cost may be higher due    to contingencies.

COST PLUS:  Simply put, the cost of labor and materials for the job, plus a percentage for the contractor’s profit and overhead.

  • Advantages: More flexibility.  Decisions and changes can be made throughout the project: you pay for the actual cost of the project.
  • Disadvantages:  You must trust that the contractor is trying to find the best prices for materials and subcontractors.


Here are some ideas compiled to assist you when planning to build a house, and addition or to remodel:

The first question I am most frequently asked is “What can you build a house for, per square foot?”   This is a difficult question, due to the design, the building site, the building materials, and the fixtures to be used (bath tubs, cabinets, heating systems, etc.).  All of these aspects are unique to an n individual project.

Priorities are very important.  One thing I suggest to people is to list their priorities when planning a project.  Some ideas to consider might be:

  1. Large square footage
  2. Custom cabinets
  3. Interesting design
  4. Decks
  5. Cast iron tub and sinks
  6. Special views
  7. Custom tile work
  8. Large closets

Unless you have limitless funds, priorities should be established in the planning stage.  To get ideas look in magazines, look at other houses and talk to friends.

With some projects, not all of the funds are available to complete the project as the owner would wish.  Sometimes rooms can be left temporarily unfinished.  If you plan to add on a room at a later date, this should be considered in the original plans.  This will allow the addition to be easily added and be complementary to the rest of the house.

Location of the house on the site would be considered in the planning stage.  Orientation to take advantage of the sun and view should e discussed.

Many types of materials are available, creating many possibilities when building, but a high level of quality should always be maintained.

I hope the ideas on these pages have been helpful and given you some things to think about.  I have been building ton the coast since 1978 and I know how important a good reputation is.  I strive to give the most for your money when it comes to quality, whether you are building a house, an addition or remodeling.  If I can be of any, give me a call.

Also, please check out my website ( for information about my company, past projects and testimonials from my clients.  I look forward to answering any of your questions and working with you.

CA LICENSE # 570578
TELEPHONE 707 937-0424

Website and SEO by James Morris Consulting