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Monty Gearhart….how to avoid shoddy construction

Shoddy: Of poor quality or inferior workmanship.

Monty Gearhart, owner of Gearhart Construction, hates to see people taken by shoddy work.
Monty Gearhart, owner of Gearhart Construction, hates to see people taken by shoddy work.
Shelley Stutchman
One of the most important relationships you have is with your home
One of the most important relationships you have is with your home
Shelley Stutchman

One of the most important relationships you have is with your home. If it is a good relationship, you can’t wait to be homeward bound at the end of the day, it is your sanctuary, and it makes you feel at peace. When you love your home, it also, needs tender loving care back, and that is when you begin your hunt for yet another relationship. This relationship will be very important to both you, and your home; it is the relationship between you, and your contractor; choose wisely.

You have decided to remodel your home. You are proud of your home, and excited to begin. How hard can it be; you may wonder? You know how to use a hammer and a nail, and the superstores will help you choose what you need for your project. If it doesn’t work out, you figure you can find a construction company that won’t cost much. After all, there are ads everywhere, advertising home remolding for less.

When you start a project for your home, it is much like surgery. You need to have the knowledge, the right tools, and experience. If you were having open-heart- surgery, would you shop around for the cheapest doctor? Would you use a doctor who only had limited experience to operate on you? The results have a probability of disaster, same as starting a remodeling project without experience, good materials, and a well-thought-out plan.

Monty Gearhart, owner of Gearhart Construction, hates to see people taken by shoddy work, and inferior contractors. The number of times he has been hired to repair the disasters from poor workmanship boggles his mind. Monty wants you to understand what goes into a project, and how to hire the best person for the job. Monty Gearhart has been in business since 1974. He guarantees quality products, quality installation, and quality craftsmanship. He will share ways for you to not be a victim of shoddy work.

When you do it yourself, or hire the lowest bidder, the following are some of the nightmares you can expect to face: Beware, in Oklahoma, no licensing is required. This means there are no set standards which the contractor has to meet; and anyone can say they are a contractor. A second-rate company will provide you with the following:

1. Poor planning

2. Poor execution

3. Poor following of the critical path

4. Poor fit

5. Poor finish

Poor planning

The problems with poor planning are insurmountable. Poor planning means a poorly written plan. Poor plans lack consistency for the project. If the planning is sloppy, you will undoubtedly end up spending more money to overcome what went wrong. The plan can be incomplete; causing your budget to be much more than you expected. The plan can be too vague, and you won’t know what direction you need to go next. The plan includes inadequate research, resulting in the wrong products for the project. Your plan is really no plan at all.

Good planning

When a qualified expert makes the plan, he or she thinks it through. They know what to research, and all the steps are mapped out. A professional understands the cash flow. He or she knows where it is okay to minimize the expenses, without jeopardizing the project.

Why hire a professional

A professional can guide you through the entire process. They have the knowledge, only gained through experience; they can provide additional, unbiased feedback, and the finished project will be attractive, and professional. Without proper planning, the project will be sub-par, and amateurish. For the do-it-yourself folks, please understand renovating is a stressful and time-consuming process.

The importance of proper execution

If you don’t know what you are doing, or you have hired a contractor who does not know what they are doing, the job can’t be executed properly. Execution is a major component of a remodeling, or construction job. Execution means that someone who is knowledgeable must ensure every aspect of the planning, and that the actual work is being done correctly. Proper execution utilizes all the plans, schedules, and procedures, which were prepared in the planning stage.

The execution phase of the project does not end until the job is complete.

The critical path

There is a path that must be followed in construction, or home remodeling. Certain things must be done in a specific order. If this critical path is not followed, money, and time are wasted. An example would be putting up the wall before doing the electrical. If the wall is put up first, it must be torn down, and then electrical can be done. Thus, the critical path must be executed. A skilled contractor knows this path, an amateur, or the low bidder for the project, may not know, and finds out through trial, and error at your expense.

The Fit

Only a professional craftsman will understand how to make the fit. You can walk into any building or home and, just by looking at the fit, you will know if the job went to the lowest bidder, or to the best person for the assignment. The fit is exactly what the word implies, do things fit? Are there gaps where the baseboard is supposed to come together? Do the doors open, and close correctly? They only will if the fit is correct? Where corners meet, do they actually meet, or is there light between them? When the fit is incorrect; your remodeling will look unfit. Only a pro has the experience to create the all-important fit.

The acceptable finish

If the finish is not acceptable, down the road, things will separate, and fall apart. At that point, you will wish you hired a reputable construction company, rather than the low bidder. Renovation can turn into a nightmare if your so-called contractor fails to do a good job.

Hiring the right contractor

How do you weed through the sheer number of people and companies that claim to be professional contractors? One way is to make sure of the following:

· Is your builder confident in undertaking the job?

· Does your builder understand the job, and what is involved? This can be spotted in the planning session.

· Has the builder undertaken similar work before?

· Is your builder willing to give you the names of previous clients?

· Does the builder understand what you are trying to achieve?

· Does the builder have work comp insurance, and general liability insurance, with sufficient limits? These are required by law for all contractors to have.

Questions to ask the previous clients:

· What was the builder like to work with?

· Were you satisfied with the work?

· Was the project completed when the contractor said it would be?

· Did the contractor stay within the set budget, or was he or she continually going over budget?

· Would you use them again?

· Would you recommend them to your friends?

Cost

It is unwise to give the contractor all the money upfront. You should expect to give him, or her a down payment. You need to work out a payment plan. You pay your final payment only when the work is complete.

An experienced contactor can give you a fairly accurate guess on the cost of the project. This is because some problems are not revealed until the work is started, or you alter the plan. Professional renovators always leave a contingency of between 10-20% to cover the unexpected problems.

Using the wrong materials

To save money, some people choose to buy the materials themselves, and then have the contractor do the work. First rule of thumb here, good and cheap does not go together. You can have cheap, or you can have good. The choice is yours. Do not insult the experienced contractor by only giving them bits, and pieces of the job. When you do this, the job looks exactly like what it is, piece-milled. When you do this, the work is not consistent, and in reality, you have cheated the contractor out of his or her fair profit.

If you or the contractors don’t know what you are doing when it comes to the right materials for the job, it can result in damage to the structure.

Your professional contractor

To get the best job for your project, above all else, listen to your contractor. If you don’t listen to their knowledge base, it can cause unsatisfactory results, wasted time, and wasted money.

In review

Hire a professional. A bad contractor, or a do-it-yourself endeavor, will cost you dearly in more ways than time or money. Often times the wrong person for the job, or doing it yourself, can lead to family conflicts, and the potential for accidents.

For a professional consultation, you can contact Monty Gearhart, of Gearhart Construction in Enid Oklahoma.

Phone: 580-541-3082

Email: montygearhart@hotmail.com

Seek professional advice, it may cost more, but it is money well spent. Construction codes and permits, planning, and experience are very important; without it, you are taking your project in a minefield. There are many who claim to be contractors, who do not know one end of the nail from the other. If a mistake is made through poor knowledge, and lack of experience, it will cost you a great deal of money, and problems for years to come.

Hire a professional contractor

Do not take the risk of the cheapest bid.