Questions + Answers

At Razzano Homes & Remodelers, one of our goals is to be a valuable resource to homeowners in the Capital District. We understand that building a new home or tackling a major renovation project is something you will only do a once or twice in your lifetime. Therefore, you shouldn’t be expected to be an expert when it comes home improvements or home building. The Frequently Asked Questions on this page and the other resources on our website are designed to provide you with as much relevant information as possible so you can make informed decisions about your next project. Whether or not you end up working with Razzano Homes & Remodelers, we want you to feel confident in the company you hire and the process that you are about to begin. Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you have questions that aren’t answered below, feel free to contact us.

I know, I know… believe it or not, I’m 30 years old and I still get ‘carded’ when I go to the wine store.

My Mom tells me that I’ll be glad I look young when I’m 50.

I’ve wanted to be a carpenter ever since I can remember. When other kids wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut, all I wanted was to have my own toolbox and nail things together.

So I’m lucky… I got my dream job!

I started in the construction industry in 2003 working for a very reputable company. I learned a lot about the trade and how to do things the right way.

I’ve worked hard to learn as much as I could, and I’m still continuing my education. I’m a member of my industry’s leading trade associations, which helps me stay on top of new developments and techniques in the building trades.

I’ve earned the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation from the National Association of Home Builders. This designation focuses on the latest developments in home modifications for people who wish to remain in their own homes rather than move to an assisted living or nursing home facility.

I’ve completed more than 100 home remodeling projects since 2007, and I have over 75 happy clients who will gladly be a reference for me.

So, yes, with over 11 years of experience in the remodeling industry – along with some hard work – I’ve gained the expertise and knowledge to provide you with an end result that will be beautiful and will last.

Over the years, many clients have asked us whether we are licensed contractors. In the towns that we serve, a license is not required or even available. That means, even if we wanted to become licensed in your town, we could not because the town does not have a process by which we can become licensed.

This is very important to you as a consumer. Unfortunately, anyone can buy a few tools, a vehicle, and some business cards and call himself a remodeling contractor. In areas without a licensing process, residents are at risk that they may hire a contractor who has none of the experience or knowledge to properly perform construction work.

While we are not licensed, we have the knowledge gained over a combined 25 years as construction professionals to handle your remodeling project, and to do it right the first time. Please click here to read more about why to choose us as your contractor.

One important note: it is critically important that plumbers, electricians and certain other specialty trade contractors be licensed. This protects you. We only use reputable, licensed contractors to perform this type of work in your home.

It may surprise you to learn that in a 2011 survey over 35% of the home remodeling and home improvement that advertise in directories were out of business within five years.

Some owners have simply closed up one business when they ran into problems and then they open up under a different name.

We recommend that you ask these 18 questions of every company you are seriously consider hiring.

Dan Razzano has never declared bankruptcy for this or any other company that he has been an owner, shareholder, or partner in.

We understand that you would like to get an idea of the cost for your project.

But, please understand, there are dozens and dozens of choices that you will make that can dramatically impact the cost of your project. For instance, what type of counter top or cabinets will you want? What types of plumbing and electrical fixtures? What type of tile, flooring, trim, doors, windows, wall finish, and on and on.

Any contractor that gives you a ball-park estimate without knowing all the details is, at best, guessing. And this is certain to result in an estimate that won’t be very close to the real number.

In order to get a complete understanding of your needs and desires, we meet with you in person and ask very specific questions. We will then create a proposal that includes a detailed breakdown of the materials to be used, the specific line item detail for all tasks associated with the project, and a fixed price for the total project. If this is not possible, we will discuss with you exactly what materials you will need to purchase and the amount that you can expect to pay based on your tastes and desires.

We believe that this process is in your best interest.

I encourage you to read our page about references

Any home remodeling contractor can come up with some good references. However if you really want to find out if they are the right company for your project, you need to ask for at least 10 references.

And use the questions I give you on the References Page to easily check the reputation and service record of any company you are seriously considering.

Yes. Due to the economy in the Capital District area in the last few years, many folks that got laid off or had done handyman work suddenly became full-time remodelers or home improvement “experts.” Many commercial companies have also gotten into the residential remodeling market to make ends meet.

You should be aware that there have been many stories on the web and in local and national publications about trusting homeowners who gave a contractor a large deposit and then the contractor goes out of business or simply disappears.

Home remodeling contractors should have longstanding relationships with their local bank and local suppliers. All of their relationships should be in good standing. Businesses in good standing with the bank and local suppliers get preferential treatment and pricing which helps them stay competitive.

You can read more about this topic here.

Companies that are slow to pay their vendors may be using your deposit and funds to pay off other projects and this can lead to unexplained delays in your project.

There is a lot of confusion about what this term means.

The biggest risk you take as a homeowner when you hire someone to work in your home is that a worker will be injured on the job. In construction work, it’s easy to imagine any number of situations where that could happen.

If a contractor is not properly insured, then an injury that occurs on your property could end up being your responsibility.

There are two ways you can protect yourself:

  1. Ask to be listed as the certificate holder on a Certificate of Insurance
  2.  
  3. Demand that the Certificate of Insurance be sent directly to you by their insurance agent so you get assurance that their coverage is current.

Every home improvement contractor is required to maintain statutory Worker’s Compensation insurance for all employees. It is a good idea for them to also carry at least $1,000,000 of Liability insurance per incident.

Our insurance agent will provide you with our documentation so you can feel comfortable that we have current insurance in place.

At Razzano Homes and Remodelers, we spend extra time up front detailing every aspect of your project and anticipating potential issues based on Dan’s 11 years of experience and successfully completing over 100 projects.

Once you approve the design and make all of your material selections, we provide fixed price agreements for the work specified along with a detailed breakdown of the project. Our price guarantee is easy to understand.

All project costs including plans, permits and materials are included in our agreements.

Our written installation processes make it easy for you to compare our proposal with our competitors’ proposals.

This is in sharp contrast to what other contractors may do.

Many contractors are reluctant to give you the kind of details we provide. This is often done so that they can show you a lower price.

You see, there are many opportunities in a construction project where corners can be cut or inferior materials substituted to make more profit.

And leaving out certain costs – or providing unrealistic allowances for key items – is a common practice that can leave homeowners with an unexpected increase in the total price of a project.

This is a tactic that many design build and home remodeling contractors use to make their proposals appear to have a more favorable price.

Dan Razzano and our lead carpenter have a total of 25 years of industry experience. Your lead carpenter will be on your project every day to make sure it is moving toward the promised completion date. Dan gets an update from his lead carpenter at least twice a day and he visits each project multiple times each week to ensure it is completed on time and on budget.

We use an up-front project schedule, a pre-construction checklist, a formal scheduling system and weekly intensive project updates with you to keep your project on time.

Dan Razzano and your lead carpenter will meet with you every week to review the progress of your project in detail. For shorter projects we will provide you with an update every two days.

Dan also meets with or communicates with our lead carpenter every day to review job progress. These meetings are a key way of keeping your project on time and on budget.

We also provide our clients with multiple ways to contact us via the phone, email, text and fax. Keeping you informed allows you to feel comfortable that progress is being made.

We believe it is vitally important for you to be kept up to date on your project.

Dan Razzano will meet with you every week to review the progress of your project in detail. For shorter projects he will provide you with an update every two days.

All unanswered phone calls, emails and texts are returned within two hours during normal business hours.

We provide an online and easy to use way to ask questions or to provide us with requested information.

We encourage you to ask questions of Dan or your lead carpenter when you are around during construction.

Yes. Once we start your project, we stay on it each day until we are finished.

In any significant project there will be some “gap” days due circumstances beyond our control, like weather or delays in inspections, that don’t permit us to work.

Our clients know that we are always working on their project – coordinating material deliveries, setting up city inspections, coordinating specialty trades and more. Our ongoing communications keep you informed so you won’t be left wondering.

The biggest reason many contractors are accused of failing to finish the punch list is that they have moved on to another job. In most cases, they moved on from your job because they underestimated the amount of time that would be needed to do the finish work, and they need to start a new job to keep the money flowing.

We use a project schedule, a pre-construction checklist, a formal scheduling system and weekly intensive project updates with you to keep your project on time.

All of our internal systems ensure that our end of the project punch list is minimal.

While all of this sounds good, I realize that anyone can say these things. The best thing I can recommend is that you ask our references whether we left anything undone.

Yes.

We have a written zero-tolerance policy that prohibits smoking, chewing tobacco, or drug and alcohol use on the job.

We have trained our crews to behave as guests in your home, and to show respect for your personal space and your belongings. Again we encourage you to ask our references about this.

We stand behind our work with a 3-year warranty for the labor and installation on all home remodeling projects.

This is as much as two years longer than most of our competitors.

A one year warranty isn’t really worth much (kind of like a 50,000 mile warranty on a car). Even a poorly constructed project is likely to last for a year before it starts to fall apart.

While we strive for excellence in every project, we have had minor issues with work that we’ve done. It has only happened a few times, but we have even repaired projects after the warranty expired when we felt that our workmanship was not as good as it should have been.

No. Most of our clients are not at home while we are working.

However, if you plan to be away for an extended period of time, we ask that you provide us with contact information so that we can reach you in the event that a situation arises that requires your input.

Razzano Homes and Remodelers will provide you a project schedule that includes the time line of events for the project.

Most contractors will simply say “It will be a six-week project.” If the contractor doesn’t back this up with a specific schedule of events then it is only a guess. Poor planning leads not only to delays in completion but it can also lead to cost overruns.

Our up-front project schedule, pre-construction checklist, scheduling system and weekly intensive project updates are all essential parts of keeping your project on time.

In most cases we will place portable toilets for employees and subcontractors on your property. If yours is a smaller job, we may ask for access to a bathroom as a courtesy.

We will respect your privacy and your property in using the bathroom.

We ask for access to a sink or side yard area with hose that we can use for cleanup, but will make other arrangements if that isn’t possible.

We have a written daily cleanup checklist to make sure the site is clean and secure at the end of each workday.

Yes. We will supply any required information to your HOA.

Whether you are planning to expand your living space, want to change the layout and livability of your home, renovate your kitchen, a bathroom, master bedroom, basement, or add an outdoor living space, at Razzano Homes and Remodelers we have the expertise and experience to make your dreams come true.