How to Hire a Good Carpenter in San Antonio
The aesthetic and protective roles woodworks play in the home cannot be overstated. However, carpentry-related works also result in several injuries, particularly when performed by non-professionals without proper safeguards. For instance, it is estimated that the improper use of handled and table-mounted woodworking tools partly accounts for over 10,000 work-related finger amputations in the United States annually. Therefore, when confronted with a woodwork-related need in your home, it is best to hire a licensed and professional carpenter to handle the situation for your safety and for the best results.
While you can ask friends, family, and neighbors for referrals to help you find a good carpenter, you can increase your chances of making the best hiring decision by finding answers to the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of San Antonio?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of San Antonio?
- Do You Comply with the City of San Antonio Building Code for Carpentry Work?
- Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of San Antonio Code?
- What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of San Antonio?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of San Antonio?
No statewide license is required to carry out carpentry works in the State of Texas. However, per section 10-115 of the City Code of San Antonio, any person performing any form of residential construction or home improvement work in San Antonio must be registered in the city. Nonetheless, registration is not needed to repair, replace, or modify non-structural building components on an existing residential-detached accessory structure not exceeding 300 square feet. Any unregistered carpenter who engages in any carpentry work for which registration is required is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor offense with a fine of about $500 per violation.
The San Antonio Development Services Department (DSD) is in charge of handling home improvement contractor and residential building contractor registrations in the city. To qualify for any of these contractor registrations, interested persons must be at least 18 years of age, submit a completed Home Improvement Contractor Registration Application Form or Home Builder Contractor Registration Form to the Department, and pay the necessary fees. Interested persons can contact the DSD customer service at (210) 207-1111 or via email for additional information regarding contractors' registration. Also, residents are to ensure they always verify their intended carpenter's registration to avoid being scammed. To confirm if your carpenter is registered, you can check the Contractor Search portal maintained by the DSD.
Carpenters in the city typically charge an average of $20.28 per hour. However, this hourly rate fluctuates depending on the scope of the project, the carpenter's experience, and the technical skill required for the job. Getting estimates from at least three carpenters can help with finding out the average cost for your project.
A carpenter in the City of San Antonio earns an annual average wage of $42,480. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in the City of San Antonio against those of carpenters in the rest of the State of Texas as well as across several other major American cities:San Antonio Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$20.42Texas Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$20.28New York City Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$34.16Los Angeles Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$32.37Houston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$21.53Phoenix Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$23.50Boston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$31.31
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
All carpenters in the City of San Antonio must be conversant with the 2018 Edition of the International Building Code (IBC) and its local amendments. This Code establishes minimum requirements to ensure the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of San Antonio when undertaking carpentry-related work. The Code contains provisions aimed at ensuring most carpentry-related hazards are mitigated and capentry-related works are done with proper consideration for safety. Any carpenter who engages in any carpentry work and violates the provisions of the Code is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined up to $500. The contracting homeowner may be partly liable as well. This underscores the need to ensure any carpenter you hire is familiar with the provisions of the Code.
You can contact the City of San Antonio Development Services Department (DSD) online or at (210) 207-1111 for more information on the Building Code and how it applies to your project.
Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of San Antonio Code?
Per Section 10-6 of the City Code of San Antonio, any homeowner or carpenter who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish any wooden part of a building or perform any carpentry work must first obtain a permit before embarking on such a project. However, permits are not needed for any carpentry work done on a one-story detached accessory structure that does not exceed 300 square feet. Additionally, carpenters can install minor millwork and cabinetry without permits. Any carpenter who engages in carpentry work without first obtaining a permit commits an offense that may attract civil penalties, including a fine of up to $500.
The San Antonio Development Services Department is in charge of issuing permits to homeowners or carpenters in the city. To obtain a permit, interested applicants are required to submit a completed permit application form to the Department. In addition, interested applicants may be required to submit some submittal documents consisting of construction documents, statements of special inspections, geotechnical reports, and other data alongside their application. After submitting the application and submittal documents, the Building Official will examine them to verify compliance with the city's Building Code. Afterward, a preliminary inspection will be conducted. If the Building Official is satisfied that the proposed work and the required fees have been paid, the Building Official will issue a permit for the work immediately. Every permit issued becomes invalid if the work does not commence within 180 days after its issuance or if the work is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is initiated for those 180 days. After permits have been issued, the permittee is required to notify the Building Official when work is ready for inspection. The permittee can schedule inspections online or contact the Department at (210) 207-1111. The Building Official, upon notification, is expected to make the requested inspections and approve the work or notify the permittee if the carpentry work is not compliant with relevant city codes. The permittee is expected to make the necessary corrections in compliance with the relevant city code and request for reinspection afterward.
Inquiries regarding permitting and inspection can be directed to the City of San Antonio Development Services Department online or at (210) 207-1111.
What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
San Antonio carpenters offer a wide range of carpentry services, including constructing and installing roofs, wooden walls, floors, or other timber-framed structures, constructing household additions like doors architraves, preparing shuttering and stairs, and installing doors or window frames. However, homeowners need to ensure that the carpenter they intend to hire has the required skill set for their specific projects. For instance, a home improvement contractor can only perform carpentry work in 400 square feet and smaller buildings. In comparison, a residential building contractor can perform carpentry work in buildings greater than 400 square feet. Also, ensure you are conversant with the cost of the services your intended carpenter offers so you can budget appropriately.
The average costs of carpentry services in the City of San Antonio are provided below:Cabinet installation (labor only)$36.40 - $42.20 (wall or base cabinets)Cabinet refacing$83.90 - $111.80 (per linear foot for mid-grade laminate)Carpentry framing$35.00 - $75.00 (plus materials)Carpentry framing$20.00 - $23.30 per square foot (unfinished home addition framing)Carpentry repairs$65.00 - $85.00 (plus materials)Interior trim and molding installation$6.80 - $7.70 per linear foot (mid-grade trim or molding)refinish existing cabinets$7.20 - $9.30 (per square foot)
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of San Antonio?
There are several hazards in the carpentry occupation that your carpenter may experience when working on your project. These hazards include cuts, bruises, fractures, and even cancer caused by wood dust. According to the Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Workers' Compensation, 11,700 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in the state's construction industry in 2020. Hence, contractors in San Antonio are mandated to maintain specific insurance requirements, including general liability insurance. Homeowners should always do their due diligence to hire only insured carpenters, in order to be protected from the financial implications of any injury or accident relating to the project.
You can contact the City of San Antonio Development Services Department at (210) 207-1111 to make inquiries related to the mandatory insurance requirements for contractors in the city.
Home repair scams are considered one of the most common scams that consumers complain about in Texas, with scammers using various methods to defraud their victims. Price gouging, cash deposits requests, asking for advanced down payments and not getting the job done, refusing to provide references, showing up at your door uninvited, performing shoddy workmanship, and upselling are very common techniques used by these fraudulent contractors. Even recently in San Antonio, a homeowner filed a police complaint against a contractor after paying over $25,000 for a home improvement project that was never completed. Many measures have been implemented to sensitize San Antonio residents about avoiding home improvement scams. Below are some tips you can follow to avoid being scammed by a carpenter:
- When finding a carpenter to work for you, always remember to take your time and do not let the carpenter cause you to make hasty decisions.
- Always verify if your intended carpenter is duly licensed.
- Get estimates from multiple carpenters before making a financial commitment toward any home improvement project.
- Do not automatically choose the lowest price because the fact that it is cheaper does not necessarily mean it is better. A contractor with a low price may be inexperienced and perform shoddy work.
- Ask your carpenter for references from previous clients and find out if the customers were satisfied with the carpenter's work.
- You can check review websites like Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Yelp to determine how long the carpenter has been in business and get more information and details on the professional's reliability report. You can also contact DSD customer service at (210) 207-1111 or via email for more information regarding your intended carpenter.
- Get a written contract containing the job's price, payment schedule, estimated start and completion dates, and a detailed description of the work and materials to be used.
- Avoid signing any contract you do not understand.
- Never pay in full until you are satisfied with the work done.
- Avoid cash payments. Instead, consider paying with checks, money orders, or credit cards so you can keep records of financial transactions.
- Ensure you go for an insured carpenter so you can be protected in the event of workplace injuries.
- Keep all records related to your project.
Residents of San Antonio who are victims of a home carpentry scam can report the scam to the Texas Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division either online or by obtaining a printable complaint form and mailing the completed form to:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Division
- P.O. Box 12548
- Austin, TX 78711-2548
Every complaint received by the Division is reviewed and parties are encouraged to consider mediation unless an illegal activity is involved. Depending on the scam, the Division may also refer the carpenter to the relevant agency for disciplinary action. However, if the reliefs offered by the Division are not satisfactory, aggrieved persons can consider filing a small claims lawsuit at the Bexar County Justices of the Peace and seek compensation. Note that compensation in small claims cases cannot exceed $20,000. Also, it is best to consult a qualified attorney before filing legal action.