Avoiding Remodeling Nightmares: Legal Eagle Contractors vs. Average Houston Contractors

As a group, residential homebuilders and general contractors are often thought of negatively by consumers, but the truth is the vast majority do decent work. The swindlers and criminals are out there, of course, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

There is no contractor licensing in Texas so you have to take more care in vetting contractors up front. To find reputable contractors, use our Contractor Test resource.

That being said, there’s still a world of difference between your average homebuilder/remodeler and a truly excellent contracting company like Legal Eagle Contractors.

An average company will by definition do an average job–you’ll be generally satisfied overall but there will be several minor inconveniences or maybe even one or two large issues.

We’re here to tell you that it is possible to have a major renovation or remodel done that is virtually pain-free, with a final result that surpasses your expectations.

Most companies don’t have systems and processes like Legal Eagle does. Most are a disorganized mess when it comes to business practices.

We’ve laid out a few example scenarios featuring common contractor complaints to illustrate how much smoother the remodeling or homebuilding process can go with an award-winning firm such as ours. We believe we offer…

Legal Eagle Contractors offer betetr communication, smoother builds, superior contractors and more experience

Keep reading to see where the Average Joes often go wrong and give Legal Eagle Contractors  a call when you want to make the best choice in Houston general contractors.


Scenario #1: Dealing with Mess

You are undergoing a major home remodel. Someone in your household has a severe dust allergy, so containing dust is very important to you. Also, you’d rather your neighbors not hate you for your yard looking like a complete wreck for weeks as renovation work goes on. 

Clearing dust from a home rmeodel with a dust contorl machine


How The Other Guys Do It

Their guys pour mortar and solvents down your kitchen sink and bathtub drains, which become damaged and stained.

To contain dust, they might put up clear plastic walls around the construction area, but the barrier they use doesn’t do a great job so dust still manages to escape and find its way into rooms all over the house.

To make matters worse, they don’t clean up each day so dust inside and debris outside (including non-construction-related stuff like soda cans) just accumulate and spread throughout your home as the days go by.

Grass in your yard dies wherever it gets covered by a stray boards or packaging material that’s tossed on top of it. Your neighbors give you icy glares when you pass them on the street.

When the job is done, the contractor leaves a mess behind for you to deal with that’s large enough to cause you inconvenience but small enough for them to claim they’ve “done their part”.


How Legal Eagle Does It

First, we clean up the site and traffic areas every day, including dusting and vacuuming nearby spaces. In addition to our plastic barriers held up with tensioned poles, we often use a high-tech pre-filter system (“BuildClean” Dust Control machines) that captures any dust that escapes the construction area before it’s distributed around your home.


How the BuildClean System Keeps Your Home Clean


We always properly dispose of chemicals and construction debris and make sure our subcontractors do the same. As for the exterior, we’ve been known to keep yards cleaner than the homeowners themselves!

The last thing we do on a job is a professional cleaning of the construction area, so that by the time we sign off on the project, we will have left your home cleaner than we found it.


Scenario #2: Architect and Contractor Communication

You hire an architect for design plans for a major renovation. The plans are detailed, but because they involve the tear-down of walls, and he can’t see what’s behind those walls until they’re removed, the architect intends for the general contractor to contact him once the walls are knocked out to make sure the plans are sound, based on what they find.   

Two poeple shouting and arguing across a table


How The Other Guys Do It

Your contractor doesn’t contact the architect after knocking out the walls, for several reasons: a) he assumes the design plans are correct; b) he’s hoping that there may be additional fees for you to pay if he doesn’t. If anyone is getting paid more, he wants it to be him; and c) he thinks he doesn’t need any help.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the new walls can’t support the features you and the architect envisioned after all, a fact that doesn’t become evident until well into construction, precipitating either an expensive change order that you have to cover or you giving up the design you really wanted.

When you protest, the builder blames the architect, and the architect blames the builder.


How Legal Eagle Does It

Since we’re a design-builder with the architect and construction crew under one roof, the wall work proceeds seamlessly.

We do our own 3-D Architectural plans. We know how to determine which walls are load-bearing even before we draw the plans. Once the old walls are opened up, our plan designer and engineer immediately adjust the plans accordingly.

A change order is generated for your approval before any work is done. Work proceeds smoothly from there, avoiding the need to backtrack down the road or put you in the middle of the finger-pointing between the contractor and architect.


Scenario #3: Cash Flow Management

Your contractor asks you for one-third of the total project payment upfront “to buy materials.” You agree, but are soon disappointed at how long progress seems to be taking on your remodel, especially since you’ve already paid him a considerable amount of money.

Calculator, pen, and paper on a desk


How The Other Guys Do It

Despite the fact that it is highly illegal in Texas, many contractors take the money you give them and use it to pay off subcontractors and other bills from other projects.

The theory is that once those other projects’ homeowners pay the contractors, they will use the money on your project.

However, the prior bills end up swallowing the upfront money to the point construction on your home slows to a crawl, because there’s no money for materials or subcontractor labor.

While the work may get done eventually, it misses the deadline by a long shot and you are inconvenienced much more than you should have been.


How Legal Eagle Does It

Once the detailed contract is signed, we typically collect 10%.

This covers all the work we have done to pull your project together up front. If your project calls for any custom-fabricated items that are ordered right away, we collect 50% for those costs, but not until they are ordered.

We are financially stable and capable of buying materials in the normal course of business, without requiring any payment from you. As our work progresses, you pay us an agreed-upon amount as we reach “milestones” of production. These are readily identifiable steps of construction we’ve taken that get us to project completion.

Working this way, payment follows progress, and we are motivated to keep work going so we can get paid at the next visible milestone.


Scenario #4: Project Management

Your contractor drops off subcontractors at the jobsite, gives them brief instructions, then disappears for a few days. The subcontractors come to you with all sorts of questions. You quickly realize that you are now the project manager, and you didn’t sign up for that.

Filling out a daily schedule report with a pen


How The Other Guys Do It

You’ve heard the stories or maybe even experienced it on previous projects: Your contractor is never around.

No one shows up to make progress and you don’t know why. You have no idea what is coming up on the schedule. You call and call your contractor, but he won’t return your calls. As the job creeps along you are more insistent so the contractor deems you a “problem client” and avoids you even more.

The project is taking months and months. It seems like it will never end. You are beyond stressed and frustrated.


How Legal Eagle Does It

With Legal Eagle you have a skilled “Project Manager” assigned to your job. He is a full-time employee. He is on your job pretty much every day. A “Daily Job Log” with scheduling, photos of the project, and who is working on the job is sent to you daily through an app we use called BuilderTrend.

You know exactly what is going on and what is coming up.

He is the quality control guy and knows the high-quality standards we build to. If something is not right he will get it fixed. You can communicate with us through this app (just like email) any time you wish if you have a question or comment.

Of course, we still do phone calls with you, and emails (but not texts). We answer very promptly. When we first meet, I will give you references to confirm we perform these good business practices.