Frequently Asked Questions
How can I be sure that I get a competent, reputable remodeling contractor?
The best way to be sure is to be thorough. Don't rush into a project. Have a strong sense of what you want to have done. Have an idea of your budget. When you speak to a remodeling contractor, verify first that they are licensed (certified by the state of Florida), bonded, and insured (commercial general liability insurance policy). Check references and visit the contractor's web site. Ask questions about how they go about their business in the Sarasota area.
There are advantages to choosing a single remodeling contractor at the start, rather than seeking bids from several contractors. If you have done your homework and gathered evidence that you have a competent, reputable contractor, you can feel secure in discussing your project finances with that individual. And, in addition to creating a "team relationship" from the very beginning, you will not have to face the stress of calling other bidders to tell them they did not get the job.
Do I need to have a licensed contractor do the work?
If you intend to have a remodeling contractor obtain the permits that are necessary to do the job, then you should seek a state-licensed contractor. A company that claims to be a contractor, but is not licensed by the state, will not be able to obtain permits and may not have the knowledge to comply with Florida's building codes for strength and safety.
How can I find out if my contractor has a state license?
Ask if they are a "Florida Licensed Contractor" and make sure they provide a copy of their license. No need to be shy. Any state-licensed contractor will be glad you are asking for it. The Web site www.myfloridalicense.com offers an easily searchable database.
Can you give me a solid estimate?
With an extensive background in estimating and cost analysis, Stout Homes makes sure every estimate is complete and includes everything we promise. You will have NO "surprises" with us.
Can I feel comfortable that the estimate will be the real cost?
Make sure your remodeling contractor itemizes his estimate so it clearly includes everything you believe should be included. If you possess an itemized estimate, you should have a general idea of how much the project will cost overall.
What exactly is a "change order" and could it make my project a lot more expensive?
A change order is a written document that creates a record of a change in the scope of a project that affects the cost and/or schedule. It can make your project more expensive. The potential for change orders is a compelling reason for taking time to lay out a budget at the start of the project, and for hiring a contractor who stresses open communication. Ask a contractor's references whether the contractor keeps clients informed about changes in the project and its budget. Attempt to verify that the contractor has been open about costs when changes occur in a projects.
Can a homeowner obtain their own building permit?
A Sarasota County homeowner can obtain a building permit. The homeowner will be required to submit all of the documents and plans needed and appear in person to sign the building permit application. And, the homeowner will be required to sign an affidavit that says the homeowner is assuming the role of contractor, including, of course, all liabilities and responsibility for code compliance, properly insured workers, site safety, and compliance with workers compensation laws.
What if I can't leave my home or vacate my place of business during the job?
The most important consideration is knowing that your family and possessions are safe. We take this seriously. We keep things clean and we do our work in a manner that is convenient to the family or the building occupants. We realize that family and business schedules can be complex. We stay in touch with our clients to make sure our work is done in the safest, least intrusive manner possible.
How early in the morning and how late at night will your crews work?
Projects are scheduled in advance. We make the greatest effort possible to move forward in a way that is respectful of schedules. Generally, remodeling work does not start before 7:30 a.m. or extend beyond 5 p.m. Often, one subcontractor cannot begin work until another is finished. We have much experience at minimizing the down time between the two.
How much insurance does Stout Homes carry?
Stout Homes carries a $1 million commercial general liability insurance policy.
What areas do you generally service?
We generally do remodeling projects throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties including Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Palmer Ranch, Venice, Bird Key, Casey Key and all surrounding areas.