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One Man and a Hammer Vlog

Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor – Pt 4

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Our series continues on the Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor; it’s all about communication between the client and the contractor. One Man and a Hammer uses an online tool called Co-Construct (http://www.co-construct.com/) to manage all aspects of the project including communication with each client and it’s proven time and time again to be instrumental in the success of each project.

Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor – Pt.2

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Part 2 of 5 and this week, questions #3 and #4. Bob talks about using tradesmen or contractors, also how much $$ should you put down on your remodeling project?


Last week, we covered number one and number two of the top 10 questions you should ask a remodeling contractor. Hi everybody, Bob Gallese with One Man and A Hammer, and Onemanandahammer.com. 

Last week, we talked about number one, who will be in charge of the job once it starts, and number two, can I get that in writing? And we talked about everything being on Co-Constructor, some type of web-based portal, when it comes to putting everything in writing. And of course, having somebody in charge of the job as the job progresses – who’s going to be in charge, who’s going to be your main contact. 

This week, we’re going to talk about number three and number four. Number three, do you use subcontractors, or do you employ tradesmen? Why would that matter? Well, it matters for a few reasons. Number one, when a contractor shows you his insurances – workman’s comp and liability – that covers him and his employees. It does not cover subcontractors. And this has gotten some people into a lot of hot water over the years. So, make sure that you understand who’s going to be working in your home. Are they employed tradesmen, or are they subcontractors? If they’re subcontractors, simply ask for their proof of insurances. Again, workman’s comp and liability insurance. 

The second reason is, you want to know about subcontractors or employed tradesman, is quality control and timeliness. An employee of a remodeling company, such as One Man and A Hammer, when they’re given a job, they’ve got nowhere else to go. They’re not going to start your job and go jump to that job, and go jump to job number three, and try to keep everybody happy. That bridge ends up collapsing at some point, and hopefully, you’re not under that bridge when it does collapse. And as far as quality control goes, again, employees of a remodeling company have learned the way it’s to be done for that employer, such as myself. My guys know that I’m a picky guy, so they’re going to make sure I don’t come over there and make them redo something. And quite frankly, luckily I don’t have to worry about that with my guys. 

Once in awhile, they make their mistakes like everybody does, but we correct them. The bottom line is, typically my people are employed, unless we get into a bigger project for like, plumbing or electrical, then we have to bring in subcontractors that we’ve worked with for years and years and years. So, you want to understand the relationship, also, between the contractor and the potential subcontractor. 

Number four, what do I have to put down? How much money should you give a contractor? Well, that varies. When you have custom windows for instance, going in, we ask for 50% down. Just in case something happens to the client between the time of ordering and the time of delivery, you know, at least the cost of the windows is covered; at least some of the cost of the windows is covered. Same thing with cabinetry in a kitchen or bath remodel. We like to get at least 25% down. Most of our jobs, we require 35% down. 

Then, we use progress payments, which once again, are very clearly spelled out in our proposal and on Co-Construct, again, our web-based portal. So, make sure that you do have a clear understanding of what’s to be put down and what’s to happen the moment you put that money down. How soon will cabinets be ordered or windows be ordered, for instance. You also want to make sure, as the job progresses, how will you be making payments? Is it just going to be when the contractor needs money for his mortgage, or his muffler falls off and needs to replace it? You hear all these… these heart string, these tales of woe from contractors. You want it scheduled, you want it written down. Upon completion of dry wall, you’re going to give me another 10%. Upon completion of tile, you’re going to give me 10%. That’s how One Man and A Hammer does it, that’s how most professionals do it. 

Next week, we’re going to go ahead and give you number five and number six. So come on back and we’ll see you then.

Top 10 Questions to ask a Remodeling Contractor – Pt.1

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If you’re going to remodel your home in the future we’re creating a five-part video series that will help you make a contractor decision.
Today, #1 and #2 of the top questions you should ask a home remodeling contractor to help you make your way through the selection process.


Hi everybody, Bob Gallese with One Man and a Hammer, and
Onemanandahammer.com. Thanks for joining me today. For the next five
weeks, we’re going to be answering the top 10 questions you should be
asking a home remodeling contractor. Number one, who will be in charge of
the job once it starts? You want to meet all the players, you want to know
who’s coming in and out of your home. Is there is field supervisor or a
job foreman, for instance, that will be there every single day? You also
want to ask about a pre-construction meeting, which ties into this number
A pre-construction meeting, all the players should be there, so you get to
meet all the guys who are going to be there. Whether it’s employed
tradesmen, or it’s subcontractors, the job supervisor or job foreman,
whoever that is, make sure you understand who’s going to be coming in and
out of your home, and who’s in charge of all those people coming in and out
of your home.
Number two, can I get that in writing? It’s amazing to me that in this day
and age, with all the technology that we’re all surrounded with; I know
that some of us hate ‘em, some of us don’t. Bottom line is, it’s there.
Having things put in writing is so important in this industry, almost more
than any other industry in the world. Why? Because in many many contracts
or proposals, all you will see is we’re going to replace your faucet, we’re
going to replace your toilet, we’re going to replace your tile, we’re going
to replace your flooring.
It doesn’t really say an allowance for that flooring or faucet, or it
doesn’t say the brand, if you’ve already picked on out. Make sure it’s in
writing. One of the best ways to do that, that I have found, this is a
system that One Man and a Hammer uses, it’s called Coconstruct.
CoConstruct is a web-based portal that captures all this information. It
captures all correspondence via email or right through CoConstruct. It
captures all selections, it captures all expenses. If there’s change
orders the basic contract or the base contract, and then change orders, or
other things that you may have added as the job has continued. So, get it
in writing.
Get it spelled out. Make sure there’s some way that it’s all going to be
tracked, such as a program called CoConstruct, which you can easily see at
CoConstruct.com, if you’d like to view it and see how it works. So that’s
number one and two, and for the next week we’re going to into number three
and four, and I think you’re going to enjoy it. We’ll see you then

A Blueprint for your Remodeling Project

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Thinking about remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, family room? Make sure estimates from contractors include materials that will be used; from cabinets to fixtures, from windows to doors, everything should be listed. If not, your project could in jeopardy before it even begins. In this week’s VLOG, Bob explains why.

Communication Between You and Your Contractor

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One of the most important things to consider when you hire a contractor is communications. How are you going to communicate with him/her during the entire process? In this week’s VLOG Bob will tell you One Man and a Hammer stays connected with their clients and he’ll tell you why.

How to Find the Right Home Remodeling Contractor in Lake County

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Have you ever talked with a ‘contractor’ and they’ve said “I’ll cut you a deal if you pay in cash.” Or “You’ll have to pull all of the permits yourself.” Red flags for sure….In this week’s VLOG Bob answers the question “How do you as a homeowner find the right contractor in Northeast Ohio?”

Comparing Bathtubs and Shower Basins

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If you’re considering remodeling your bathroom you’ll need to think about the bathtub or shower basin. Tubs and showers are not all made from the same materials. There’s steel, there’s acrylic, fiberglass and cast iron. In this week’s VLOG Bob talks about what’s good and what’s not so good as he compares bathubs.

How Much Will Cabinetry Cost For Your Remodel?

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When it comes to budgeting for your kitchen or bathroom modeling project the cost of cabinets will be between 18-25% of your total budget. All cabinetry is not created equal no matter what the cost and in this VLOG Bob speaks to the quality of cabinetry and what you should be aware of.


Terrifying, scary, frightening and overwhelming, I’m not describing a
Halloween movie, I’m describing selecting kitchen cabinets or bathroom
cabinetry for your new kitchen or bathroom. Hi everybody, Bob Gallese with
One Man and a Hammer and onemanandahammer.com. You know as a professional
kitchen and bath contractor and a dealer for many, many lines of cabinetry
such as Medallion, Shiloh, Ultra craft, Birch and Legacy to name a few. I
understand the world of cabinetry pretty well.

I know it’s overwhelming and the cost varies widely throughout the
different brands for different reasons. Some manufacturers have certain
sizes of special cabinets, other manufacturers have specific accessories.
Some manufacturers build a drawer one way. Some manufacturers have
different colors. There’s many, many things to consider when you’re
looking at cabinetry.

This is why we guide our clients including those that are do it yourself-
ers or other contractors, possibly home investors that come to us and
purchase their cabinetry to make sure that we’re giving them the cabinet
that makes sense for the home. When you go out and look at cabinets all
oak or maple cabinets look the same sitting on a shelf, but they’re not all
necessarily made the same and you cannot typically get them modified. In
other words if you want a cabinet that was a quarter inch wider, an inch
wider, than some other one’s instead of just putting a filler there are
some manufacturers who will make that cabinet that half an inch or one inch

Most manufacturers won’t do that, but in your search, and if you have a
drawing done professionally, like One Man and a Hammer does for their
clients, we’ll know exactly what you need to put in that kitchen or
bathroom so you’re not placing fillers in there, or you’re placing very few
fillers or as few as possible. About 18-25% of the kitchen remodel project
is the cabinetry. So when you’re spending that kind of money on a kitchen
remodeling project you don’t want to make a wrong decision of course.

The variants of cost can be confusing so be sure you speak with a
professional. I don’t want to say a professional cabinet person but a
professional kitchen designer or a professional kitchen remodeler because
they do understand the cabinetry and they’ve done it many, many times. We
know what’s good and what’s not so good. As a lay person most clients,
most homeowners don’t know what to look for. Typically they walk into a
big box store, look at what’s up on the shelf and they say “Okay that color
looks good and that color looks good.” Meanwhile you haven’t checked the
drawer construction; you haven’t really checked the size. Is it just a
cheap vinyl veneer or is it a wood side?

The vinyl veneer will peel off in time. I have that problem. I bought my
cabinets twenty two years ago when I bought my home. Unfortunately I
didn’t think about the vinyl ends at that time, but you live and you learn.
So here we are twenty two years later and what I’m trying to convey to my
listeners is that when you’re buying cabinetry you don’t want to buy that
cabinetry again in two or three years, maybe five years. Cabinets should
be there as long as you need them to be or until you tear them out. Well
keep that in mind as you’re looking around, as you’re getting ready to do
the remodeling project.

Come and see a professional, come to One Man and a Hammer or any other
kitchen professional. Not necessarily the big box stores out there. I
don’t know how many professionals they have on staff when it comes to
kitchens, and they only have certain kitchens or cabinetry that they can
offer to their walk in customers. So thank you for listening. Remember to
join us every Saturday morning for the Home Tool Box at 8 am eastern on WINT 1330AM Integrity Radio.

Awards & Recognition

2011-Angies-Super-Service-AwardMulti-year Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner
2007 – 2011
Better Business Bureau LogoVerify our BBB accreditation and see a BBB report
National Association of the Remodeling IndustryProud Recipients of the CotY Remodeler of the Year Award
2009, 2010, 2012
Remodeling 5502011 Remodeling 550: Full Service Remodelers List