How to Hire a Good Carpenter in El Paso
It is estimated that about 70% of homeowners have a greater desire to be in their homes after a remodeling project, with another 77% feeling a powerful sense of accomplishment. This home improvement particularly involves woodworking, with some homeowners undergoing kitchen, closet, and full interior renovations. Additionally, performing woodwork-related improvements in your home can increase its overall appeal and consequently raise its market value by over 10%. However, especially with respect to woodwork-related projects, it is estimated that hand tools cause over eight percent of all work-related compensable injuries across the country. This underscores the need to ensure your carpentry needs are handled by a qualified carpenter, so you can avoid the occurrence of such injuries or getting unsatisfactory results.
When looking for a qualified carpenter near you, you should also carry out your due diligence even though you can commonly rely on friends, friends, and other home improvement professionals. To achieve this, you can ask your intended carpenter the following questions to confirm if they are licensed and qualified:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of El Paso?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of El Paso?
- Do You Comply with the City of El Paso Building Code for Carpentry Work?
- Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of El Paso Code?
- What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of El Paso?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of El Paso?
The Business Licensing Center of the City of El Paso Planning and Inspections Department issues licenses to contractors wishing to offer home improvement services in the city, including carpenters. Any individual who carries out work in the capacity of a contractor without a valid general contractor license will be committing a misdemeanor punishable with a fine not exceeding $500.
Carpenters applying for general contractor licenses must satisfy certain requirements, including submitting the following:
- Proof of blanket building construction bond of $25,000
- Applicants who have satisfied the relevant requirements can complete an online application by utilizing the Business Licensing Center Citizen Access Portal.
- Alternatively, applicants can complete and submit the contractor registration application form accompanied by payment of the relevant fees at:
- Planning & Inspections Department
- 811 Texas Avenue
- El Paso, Tx 79901
- Phone: (915) 212-0104
- Interested persons can also direct queries regarding the licensing process for carpenters to the city's Department of Planning and Inspections at (915) 212-0104.
- Before hiring a carpenter, you should always confirm they possess the relevant license that qualifies them to take on the job. You can verify this by contacting the city's Department of Planning and Inspections at (915) 212-0104 or via email.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of El Paso?
According to the figures released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpenters offering services across El Paso earn a mean wage of $16 per hour. What influences how much these carpenters charge includes the nature and scope of your woodwork project, labor that will be required to complete this work, cost of materials, permits necessary to commence work, and the experience of the carpenter. This is why it is advisable to get bids and estimates from three or more carpenters near you before hiring a carpenter to commence work on your project. This helps you determine the average rate charged by carpenters around you and helps you pick the most suitable carpenter for your budget.
A carpenter in the City of El Paso earns an annual average wage of $34,710. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in El Paso against those of carpenters in the rest of Texas as well as across several other major American cities:El Paso Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$16.69Texas Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$20.28Chicago Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$34.74Houston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$21.53Los Angeles Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$32.37New York City Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$34.16
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of El Paso Building Code for Carpentry Work?
When you hire a carpenter in the City of El Paso that possesses the right qualifications, licenses, and is well versed with the city's relevant code, it guarantees your work will be up to standard. Particularly, the El Paso Building Code establishes minimum standards to comply with when handling carpentry projects to ensure public welfare, health, and safety. Accordingly, it is crucial to hire a carpenter who understands the Code and its provisions as it relates to your project. Failure to comply with the Code when carrying out any carpentry project is a misdemeanor that attracts the payment of a fine that may not exceed $2,000. You can direct your inquiries or queries regarding the Code to the City of El Paso Planning and Inspection Department by contacting (915) 212-0104 or by email.
Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of El Paso Code?
A building permit is typically required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, or demolish a building or structure across the City of El Paso. However, buildings that do not exceed one story in height and 200 square feet are exempted from permit requirements, subject to specific conditions. Building permits are issued by the City of El Paso Planning and Inspection Department.
Upon due application, a homeowner or their hired contractor may be issued a building permit. Applicants must complete an application online via the city's online permitting portal. To use this platform, an applicant must create a new user account or log in with an existing account. Thereafter, the applicant can fill out the application form, upload the necessary documents, and pay the non-refundable permit fee. Alternatively, the applicant can complete and submit a permit application form to be provided by the Department, accompanied with a nonrefundable permit fee, to:
- Planning & Inspections
- One Stop Shop
- 811 Texas Avenue
- El Paso, Tx 79901
- Phone: (915) 212-0104
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, and 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Fridays
Applicants should note that they may need to submit plans for review where required. If the property is in a historic district or designated historic landmark, the city staff for historic appropriateness will need to review any construction, reconstruction, alteration, change removal, or demolition on the property before a building permit can be issued. After the applicant has successfully applied, the Department will review and issue the permit where necessary. Afterward, permittees will be required to request an inspection when relevant at certain stages of the projects via the online permitting portal. The building official must conduct these inspections to ensure compliance with the city's Building Code. For more information regarding the permitting process and inspection, you can contact the Planning and Inspections Department at (915) 212-0104.
What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
Carpenters in the City of El Paso offer different types of carpentry services to city residents. These services include construction and installation of doors, frames, windows, cabinets, countertop and furniture, and modification of wood framing. This makes it essential for you to ensure that your intended carpenter has the qualifications, skillset, and experience to handle your proposed woodwork project. This is because some carpenters are more experienced in handling more complex carpentry work, while some are more skilled in the preliminary stages of such works. Besides verifying the carpenter is licensed, you can also request previous work references to prove their experience in handling your type of project. Advisably, you can contact these references to inquire about the carpenter's work quality and professionalism. In addition to this, you should make sure you find out the cost of the carpenter's services.
Some cost estimates for common carpentry services that are readily available in El Paso are provided below:Interior trim and molding installation (mid-grade trim or molding)$6 - $7 per linear footCarpentry framing (unfinished home addition framing)$19 - $22Installing a custom closet organizing system$913 - $3,665Crown molding installation$4 - $15 per linear footBaseboard installation$128 - $1,102
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of El Paso?
In 2019, over 600 fatal occupational injuries were recorded by the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation. Carpentry handheld tools account for approximately eight percent of all compensable workplace injuries in the country, including the City of El Paso. This makes hiring a carpenter with an active insurance policy very important. This not only protects the carpenter, but it will also protect you from out-of-pocket costs when bodily injury or property damage occurs during your project. Nevertheless, carpenters registering for contractor licenses are mandatorily required to provide proof of a general liability insurance certificate with liability limits of the following:
- $500,000 for bodily injury liability
- $100,000 for property damage.
- Blanket building construction bond of up to $25,000
When hiring carpenters, ensure you request a copy of their certificate of insurance and take steps to verify its validity from the issuing insurance carrier or contact the city's Department of Planning and Inspections at (915) 212-0104.
Note that if your intended carpenter has at least one employee, you must confirm if they are carrying the required worker's insurance compensation for the employees. If you have further questions regarding workers' compensation insurance, you can contact the El Paso Human Resources Department by completing an online form.
In 2019, the construction and home improvement industry ranked second in the number of consumer complaints made across the country for the third consecutive year. Every year, residents of El Paso lose thousands of dollars to scams involving work carried out by deceptive contractors, including carpenters in the city. Whether for home repairs, remodels, demolition or alteration, some of these deceitful individuals continuously try to take advantage of city residents and homeowners. In May 2021, a contractor was arrested by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office on suspicion of defrauding homeowners by allegedly collecting money and leaving the work midway undone. Some other methods adopted by these carpenters include requesting total payment upfront, high-pressure tactics, and refusing to provide licenses and insurance certificates.
When looking for a carpenter in the city, you must take cautious steps to avoid falling victim to these scams. These steps include:
- Verify if your intended carpenter has been duly licensed to handle your proposed job. You can do this by contacting the City of El Paso Planning and Inspection Department at (915) 212-0104 or via email.
- Request for previous work references, and you can also contact these references to inquire about your intended carpenters' work reviews. Similarly, you can check if this carpenter is available on online third-party websites like Better Business Bureau and Google Review and check this carpenter's reviews.
- Always execute a written contract stipulating the carpenter's obligations, cost of materials, permit required, and the estimated completion time of the project, among other important terms. Never sign a blank document or any document you do not understand.
- Always keep a record of all documents connected to the project such as receipts, invoices, warranties, and signed contracts.
- Ensure the work has been done to your satisfaction and in compliance with the El Paso Building Code before you make the final payment to the carpenter.
- Verify if your project requires a permit by checking with El Paso's Planning and Inspections Department.
If you have any complaint against a deceptive carpenter, you can file a report at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas by completing a complaint form online or by contacting this Office at (800) 621-0508. You can also fill out a civil problem complaint form and submit it to the El Paso Police Department.
Besides filing consumer complaints, aggrieved residents have the option of filing a lawsuit against the deceptive carpenter at the El Paso Civil Court. Before filing a legal action in court, it is advisable to consult an attorney. You can use the lawyer referral services or check the member directory of the El Paso Bar Association to find an active attorney near you.