You have asked or want to ask us these types of questions, we answer them honestly
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What's the Price?
This is normally the first question someone has, most contractors want to keep it secret or you need to jump through hoops to finally get a price, we do our best to help you plan.
With that said, let’s be honest that there is a lot of variables in construction and projects that you want to get done. There are simple projects and more complicated projects and the variables that lead to a final price can vary from how large, age of home, finish level, etc.
Basics for our pricing and how we evaluate your project,
Dispatch Fee – we have a $95 dispatch fee that we charge per technician per day to travel to your home, we include in this fee the commercial vehicle the employee is driving, our office admin staff that schedules and dispatches as well insurances are the basic costs covered in this fee
Memberships – we do offer a monthly subscription service to help with our dispatch fee’s, this membership removes all dispatch fee’s from any work you have done throughout the year, if you use us more than once per year the membership pays for itself and was designed to allow you to use us more than once per year to save you money
Hourly Rate – our hourly rate is $105 per hour per technician to be in your home, this fee covers the cost of this employee and benefits this employee receives
Base Hour for us to come to your home is $200 for one hour of service with one technician, this is the lowest price for us to come out for work. Sometimes people will reach out with a very small task that needs to be done, sometimes 15 minutes worth of work, in instances like this we ask you to think about other small things you want to get done while we would have someone out to get the most out of the cost for our technician to come out for an hour.
Estimating work is how we for most instances come up with our pricing, whether we do it virtually with asking for photos and based on years of experience can send an estimate that we will stand behind OR we come out in person and identify what you need done, take pictures and measurements as needed and ask you questions to better understand your project. We then based on the above pricing figure out how long we think projects will take and the amount of employees needed to perform the work.
Some ranges to keep in mind for some of our more popular projects we do,
Front Door or Exterior Door Replacement – $1500 to $6000 or more depending on door chosen and other factors
Fixture Replacement (minimum of two preferred) – $200-$1500 depending on height of ceilings, fixture assembly, etc
Electric Vehicle Charger – $500-$2500 depending on how far the wire needs to be run from your electric panel
Electrical Service Upgrade – going from 100amps to 200amps service can range from $2500 to $4000 or more depending on variables
Drywall Repair – $200-$2000 or more depending on size and amount of visits needed, we do a three step process to paint ready which means three visits many times to your home which equates to a few dispatch fee’s and hourly rates
Recessed Lighting – $225-$2000 or more depending on how many lights, existing fixtures before, switch location, dimmer or standard switch, etc
Ceiling Fan Replacement – $200-$350 depending on height and fixture assembly
Exterior Trim Replacement – removing your old wood trim around doors and replacing with PVC trim – $450-$700 depending on size and finish
Toilet Replacement – $200-$450 depending on what’s needed, materials included or not, valve working properly, etc
Faucet Replacement – $200-$400 depending on what’s needed, materials included or not, valves working properly, etc
Finishing a Basement – there are a ton of variables and finish levels but on the lower end you can finish a basement for $25,000 in total costs up to $100,000 or more on the higher end with bathrooms added, custom cabinetry, etc
Custom Woodworking – there are a lot of variables with this as well but on the lower end it can be $1000 for something smaller like a single custom cabinet with top to $20,000 or more depending on the type of work you’re looking to have done
Wall Carpentry – things like wainscotting, board and batton, etc can range from $1100 to $5000 or more depending on size of space and overall finish level
When can you do the work?
This is typically the second question we get asked, when can you do this if we decided to move forward with you? Unfortunately our answer to this is not always what people want to hear but we can explain why.
We send on average per month approximately 120 estimates out to customers in any given month. Typically we hear back within 30 days – 60 days from when we sent the estimate. If we told you when we did the estimate that we could start on a certain date in 30-60 days we have sent out 120-240 additional estimates that could be moving forward before you decide to move forward. We do not like to break promises, during our estimates we will let you know that we’re approx 2 weeks out or 4 weeks out or 6 weeks out for your project and we can typically hit those promised time frames assuming materials for your project do not affect the date.
Once you accept an estimate with us, we will be getting in touch with you typically in less than 24 hours to get your work scheduled. We then will ask your availability and knowing our availability at that moment and which technician(s) to be scheduled for this work can give you exact dates and get you onto our schedule. We then send out confirmation emails so you have everything and as the project gets closer to starting you will get reminder text messages and emails as well. Our technician on the day your project starts will even text you to let you know they’re on their way and their ETA to your home.
Estimate? Is my invoice going to increase during the work?
This is one of the many concerns most people have when working with a contractor. We give you an estimate for $2500 for the work you’re looking to have done, during the work we then come to you and ask you for more money because it did not include xyz.
We write extremely detailed estimates for customers, we include everything we can think of and take the time to ensure we include everything we can think of that will go wrong. We have had to have the tough conversation of increasing the invoice based on things we found during the work, however we do over 1000 jobs per year and the amount of times we have done this per year is less than 5%.
We do often have “change orders” to jobs however this is typically adding on to the job to get more work done. This is very common that you decide to upgrade something, add something during the work, etc.
We take pride that less than 5% of the work we estimate ends up needing to change, typically we find this with items “behind the wall” or “under the deck” that we cannot see during the estimate process. Even with that said, we know those things happen and typically build in some labor and materials knowing we might find something and our estimates typically in these cases will state what we have included in case of issues.
A few examples of times we have had to “add to an estimate due to not seeing something during the estimate”
– remove a front door or slider door and find extreme rot under the door that needs to be repaired
– remove deck boards to update a deck and find that many of the joists are rotted and need to be sistered, typically we build in a few joists but at times we have found almost all joists typically when we cannot “see under the deck”
– plumbing valves are bad and when we go to turn off the valve it does not turn off and water continues to run
– mold is found from previous water damage and was not treated when the problem occurred
Are you licensed and insured?
The answer is yes, we carry multiple types of coverage to ensure you’re safe with someone coming into your home.
– Our team of technicians is background checked and screened to ensure the person coming to your home and being around your family is someone you feel comfortable with, we do our best to ensure you’re comfortable in your own space when we’re working in your home
– we carry full workers compensation insurance so our team is fully insured, most contractors do not carry any workers compensation insurance. This means if anyone falls or hurts themselves on your property YOU’RE liable as the homeowner and not the contractor, workers compensation insurance is VERY expensive in this industry which is why most do not carry
– we carry liability insurance to cover your home and any work we do in your home. The minimum in the state of Pennsylvania to carry to be considered “licensed and insured” is $50,000 in liability which is not a lot now a days if someone does something wrong and causes damage in your home. We carry $2,000,000 in liability insurance so not matter what you’re covered if something does go wrong. Just to clarify, to date we have never filed a claim but it’s important to have.
– we carry commercial auto insurance for our fleet of vehicles. Our employees drive A to Z Family Business vehicles and our vehicles are insured with a commercial auto insurance policy, most contractors have “personal” vehicles that they own personally and have personal insurance policies on these vehicles which do not cover anything business related and this is common in the construction industry
– we’re a licensed home improvement contractor (PA157333) in the state of PA as well as licensed in the state of NJ as well. Our team combined has over 70 years of experience that we bring to you
Your estimate is VERY detailed.... why?
It’s very common in the construction industry that owners of companies write all estimates but also do almost all the work as well, this means the time they have to write a detailed estimate is very difficult. You might notice you get estimates from other contractors with “just a price” or “a few sentences and price” or “no breakdown of labor and materials” which is VERY common to get from others.
Derek A is the owner of A to Z Family Business and currently does almost ALL estimating, while he does spend time on jobs the majority of his time is spent writing estimates and managing the business. We spend a lot of time writing very detailed estimates with a breakdown of labor and materials and optional items in the estimate to allow you to control the overall price of the work. We find that honesty in our estimates goes a long way. The great part of writing honest and detailed estimates is that you know exactly what’s included in that estimate and there is not going to be surprises.
Do you offer a warranty or Make it Right?
Yes! We stand behind our work and offer a one year warranty on labor. We do quality work, when we make mistakes which does happen as we’re human we make it right so you’re happy at the end of any project. We have had instances where something broke or did not work properly after we had left the job and finished, we have ALWAYS gone back to make things right even when it’s been more than a year if that was the case.
We want you to feel comfortable in your decision to work with us, knowing that someone has your back and will do whatever it takes to make things right is a very important part of that decision.
Click here to learn more about our warranty
What forms of payment do you accept? Payment Terms?
When you accept an estimate with us we will ask to store your preferred payment information which is all major credit cards and pay our deposit upon accepting the estimate which is 33% of your total estimated job.
Our goal is to make the process of working with us as easy and efficient as possible. We do not accept cash, checks, venmo, cashapp, etc. We do not offer discounts for trying to pay with one of these methods. We believe in running an honest business, typically when others accept these methods it’s to cheat taxes and other fee’s that they may need to pay. In our opinion that can be just the beginning of other area’s they’re willing to be dishonest.
We do offer financing through our estimates, we use Wisetack through our construction management software. When you receieve an estimate from us, it will if over $500 offer payment terms that you can apply for. We’re not invlolved in any credit decisions and cannot see rates you receive or credit decisons.
Who provides the materials for my job?
This is a very common question and a really great question. We do both, let us explain why.
Items such as light fixtures, ceiling fans, bathroom vanities, shelving or pictures, etc is very common for you to pick out these items and we install them providing just the basic materials for install. You know what you like, you know your taste and many times you want to provide materials such as this.
Items such as flooring, paint colors, doors, windows, etc are important that you make the decision on what the overall look is but we prefer to provide the materials like this as there are a lot of variables like amount to purchase, sizes, etc.
Most other projects we prefer to supply all materials, while we will at times depending allow customers to provide materials they’re on a case by case basis. We do upcharge our materials, which is a very common practice in the construction industry but with our upchrage we take ownership of this to ensure if something is not right, enough is not purchased, damaged products, etc that we take on the financial cost to make this right.
In our estimate if the customer is providing materials we have verbiage that if something is damaged, wrong amount is purchased, wrong size, etc that if our technicians need to run to the store or we need to reschedule due to this issue that we need to charge you appropriately for our time which many times is dramatically more than our upcharge.
Do you remove trash and debris after the job is complete?
It’s become crazy the cost to dispose of trash now a days, especially large items or large amounts of items. We try our best to take smaller amounts of trash and bag it up and leave it at your home in your trash cans so you can dipsose of this as our fee does not make sense for most of the work we do for trash.
Our minimum to remove trash from your property is $225 which is a lot of money, unfortunately that’s our cost to remove trash between labor and dumping fee’s. We will add an “optional item” to your estimate that you can click on to remove trash, some of our larger jobs or demo involved jobs we will just add the trash fee but it can always be removed.
Most homeowners trash companies will take the small piles of trash created during work, it’s typically only the larger amounts of trash that you may have issues with. Our goal is NOT to charge a trash fee and just have you dispose of the trash.
Is there specific work you do not do?
We like to be honest, typically during our estimate process we will let you know if your work is something we cannot do but below is items and why we cannot do these or why we suggest other companies to do the work.
Large Flooring Work – while we can absolutely do this work, we find we’re not near as efficient as flooring companies which will end up making us more expensive than a flooring company. We find when someone wants a smaller flooring job done and flooring companies do not want to be bothered with this work that we’re a great choice
Large Painting Jobs – while we can absolutely do the paint work, we’re expensive to paint we find. We’re not as efficient as painters, we do amazing quality work however since we’re not as efficient we find ourselves to be more expensive than most painters. We also find almost all painters no matter the size of the project will come out for estimates and do the smaller jobs.
Roofing and Siding Repair – it’s not that we do not want to do this, it’s that our insurance does not want us to do this due to heights. Due to heights typically with this work we need to use a boom lift to access the area safely to keep our insurance premiums down, this adds a tremendous cost. We find using a gutter cleaning company or pressure washing company is a good solution as most roofing/siding companies do not want to be bothered with these smaller jobs.
Masonary Repair – there are companies that do this type of work and only this type of work, whether you’re looking for concrete patching or new install, pointing of bricks, etc it’s better done by a profesisonal that specializes in this type of work
Large Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations – this is a very big category for most contractors, it’s the type of work they want to do. It’s not the type of work we want to do, it’s a very competitive space with most contractors wanting to bid on these jobs. We prefer to take the other jobs they do not want to take on.
Tile Install – if you’re looking for just tile work and it’s not part of anything else typically you’re better off going with someone who specializes in this. We also find that most tile stores have either their own installers or sub contractors they suggest do this work.
Do you work with Sub Contractors?
This is a common question we get, we do work with sub-contractors and we also are sub-contractors. We have approx a 50/50 mix of W2 employees on our team and sub contractors that we work with. We’re NOT a general contractor that works only with sub-contractors, we have a mix of both to ensure we have all skillsets.
Typically are smaller jobs in amount of time we do entirely in house with our W2 employees but as the jobs get larger in overall scope of work and amount of time we will use a mix of sub contractors and W2 employees.
Currently ALL of our sub-contractors were previous W2 employees of A to Z Family Business that ended up creating their own companies, it’s the perfect relationship. We know them incredibly well and the quality work that they do along with their commitment to creating an incredible experience for you.
We’re also sub-contractors, we currently work with a few general contractors and other contractors to handle all of their electrical work. We have a licensed electrican on our team which allows us to handle all electrical work no matter the size and scope.
We hear this a lot, we’re known as we started as a handyman company and in the state of Pennsylvania you’re not required to have a specific electrical license and anyone can call themselves a licensed electrician. Our electrician that works for A to Z Family Business is a licensed electrician with over 23 years of experience, his license is in the state of New York and he has worked on both residiential and commericial projects and worked for the union in New York as well.
Electrical work is not an area to save money and go with someone that’s not actually a licensed electrician, it’s incredible dangerous to do this. We do a a lot of different types of jobs however we find that over 25% of our work is fixing work that caught fire, stopped working, etc from handyman companies doing the work that do not know the right and safe way to do something. We follow the NFPA 2020 electrical code.
Will you clean up after a job is complete?
Of course we clean up after we do work in someones home, this is a basic expectation when you’re getting work done in your home. We will vaccum, sweep, wipe down etc the work area’s that we worked in.
We do drywall work as a large part of our business, typically patching drywall is projects we do a lot of. With drywall work, dust goes EVERYWHERE not matter how much we try and control with plastic, drop cloths, etc it’s small particles that make their way everywhere in your home. While we will clean up everything once we’re done there is a chance that dust might settle once we leave.
We do like to use common sense when we talk about cleanup in someones home, we’re going to clean up after ourselves and ensure we leaving your home in amazing condition however we’re not going to professionaly clean your home after all work also. We have had unfortunately some customers that expectations were not realistic and expected us to clean even in rooms we never worked in.
What is HICPA? Do you follow HICPA?
Question – What is HICPA?
Answer – It’s the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, it’s through the PA Attorney Generals Office and it’s designed to protect you the consumer from bad contractors.
Question – Do you follow HICPA?
Answer – Yes, we do follow all guidelines of HICPA.
One of the most common things we see with HICPA that most contractors do not follow is the deposit for work, it’s so incredibly common for a contractor to ask for 50% or more of a quote for work which is not legal. HICPA states that the most a contractor can ask for as a deposit is 33% of the total quote price. HICPA does have a clause that if custom materials that cannot be returned are ordered that the deposit can match those however very rarely do custom materials make up that large of a portion of a quote. An example would be replacing your front door, if a custom door is ordered with a price of $3,000 and the door cannot be returned and the total job price is $10,000.00 then a 33% deposit on that work is appropriate. We have seen contractors state that multiple items are “custom ordered” to get away with this, make sure to find out WHY they need to be custom ordered as many times they’re not actually.
One of the other common practices that we see is separating out materials and labor as well as listing out the materials. It’s common for a contractor to say this job is $5000 total and includes all labor and materials but your question should be, what materials are included in that specifically? It’s a common way contractors can get away with “change orders” to say that was not included in my price as they never stated what was included in their price.