Diamond Certified Company Report

Rockridge Builders

Diamond Certified Company Report

Rockridge Builders

Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 75 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

C.S.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

1 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Great attention to detail

Attention to detail and thinking of things I didn't think of

Agnes R.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

2 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a good job.

The way that they worked was great. The price wasn't bad.

Ann B.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

3 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did the job better than I was expecting.

One thing I liked a lot is the fact that they were safe while on the job. I thought they were competent, conscientious, and informative. I felt like they really knew what they were doing and not just winging it.

Read All 75 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Bill Hinkamp, Owner

Rockridge Builders offers a wide range of design, engineering and construction services to residential, commercial and industrial clients throughout the East Bay. The scope of its projects runs from small kitchen and bathroom remodels to new custom homes and businesses. Competitive pricing and a fierce dedication to quality work and service have earned the company a growing base of satisfied customers who are quick to refer others, says owner Bill Hinkamp.

Mr. Hinkamp is a lifelong design/build enthusiast and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He founded Rockridge Builders in 1976 and says he’s since built a highly regarded reputation among local homeowners, architects and engineers. “We’ve completed more than 1,000 projects over the years, ranging from commercial tilt-ups to Victorian restorations to custom homes.”

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Rockridge Builders

COMPANY CONTACT
Service AREA

the East Bay

SERVICES PERFORMED

Commercial, Industrial, and Residential Design and Construction
Design & Build Services
Foundation Replacement
Remodeling
Additions
Improvements
Retaining Walls
Drainage Systems

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Rockridge Builders

Company Profile

Rockridge Builders offers a wide range of design, engineering and construction services to residential, commercial and industrial clients throughout the East Bay. The scope of its projects runs from small kitchen and bathroom remodels to new custom homes and businesses. Competitive pricing and a fierce dedication to quality work and service have earned the company a growing base of satisfied customers who are quick to refer others, says owner Bill Hinkamp.

Mr. Hinkamp is a lifelong design/build enthusiast and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He founded Rockridge Builders in 1976 and says he’s since built a highly regarded reputation among local homeowners, architects and engineers. “We’ve completed more than 1,000 projects over the years, ranging from commercial tilt-ups to Victorian restorations to custom homes.”

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Company Philosophy

"We believe there are three elements that go into a successful project. First, the project must be built to the highest possible standards. Second, the job must be successful as a value project for us and the client. Third, customers must refer us to their friends and associates in years to come. This won't happen unless we make it our mission to achieve complete customer satisfaction on each job. We do this by providing superior communication, workmanship and attention to detail."

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Comparative Summary

According to owner Bill Hinkamp, Rockridge Builders excels at providing solutions to challenging and complex problems. As an architectural graduate from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Hinkamp has extensive design-build experience and skills, and he sees his talent for finding creative solutions to clients’ building problems as a distinguishing attribute.

Rockridge Builders approaches every project “as though it was built for us,” says Mr. Hinkamp. Though home renovation is his business, he understands his customers have deeply personal and possibly lifelong stakes in the outcome of a project. It’s an obligation “we take extremely seriously,” he says.

Since its founding in 1976, the Oakland-based company has completed more than 1,000 projects, ranging from commercial tilt-ups to Victorian restoration to custom homes. “There’s nothing we haven’t seen,” says Mr. Hinkamp.

Rockridge Builders provides a “complete package,” taking total control of each project. Clients always know what to expect, says Mr. Hinkamp, because he walks them through every phase. Communications are marked by openness and honesty.

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Industry Info

Design-build is here to stay. Over the last few decades, design-build has become an even bigger part of the construction industry. The reason, explains Bill Hinkamp of Rockridge Builders in Oakland, is that construction drawings no longer contain the detail they once did. As a result, every construction project must, by necessity, have an element of design to it—to bridge the gap between drawings and construction.

You might be well served, says Mr. Hinkamp, by a construction firm that specializes in design build. “Often, contractors will get design drawings for a project that amount to little more than a floor plan and an elevation. It may be devoid of any other details, including locations of electrical outlets, selection of electrical lighting, and mechanical plumbing. Even foundation details are often absent.”

Today, it’s almost expected that a contractor bear these responsibilities, says Mr. Hinkamp. Once, homeowners would have contacted a design professional at the outset of a project, but today, it’s often contractors who get the first phone call, he says.

Also, warns Mr. Hinkamp, the industry is far less regulated than it once was. The California Board of Contractors has little manpower or policing powers. “There are a lot of people who are operating around both the law and good practice,” he says.

For example, a contractor can’t accept a down payment that exceeds $1,000 or 10 percent of the total cost of the project, whichever is less. If a contractor tries to collect more, Mr. Hinkamp advises customers to stop the process immediately and switch contractors.

Rockridge Builders is happy to provide this further information on how to select a contractor:

I. SELECTION CONSIDERATIONS

A. WHAT CONTRACTOR OR SPECIALTY DOES THE JOB REQUIRE?
1. New Construction
2. Structural repair/ foundation work
3. Addition/ remodeling
4. Design and Building experience
5. Job scope below $10,000
6. Repair work/handyman job

B. HOW DOES ONE FIND A COMPETENT CONTRACTOR
1. Referral from trustworthy friends and acquaintances
2. Recommendations from your architect/ engineer/ designer
3. Trade Association referrals

C. SHOULD I ASK FOR PRELIMINARY ESTIMATES?
1. Is quality or cost your primary consideration? If cost only, skip to D-1.
2. Preliminary cost projections can be very useful in defining the scope of your work within your budget. Estimates are a labor intensive service often performed without cost to you. A good contractor will be candid in helping you close the gap between perception and reality in costing and budgeting your job. An experienced professional contractor is not bidding your project at this stage. He or she is helping you to define your building costs to work within your budget. Do not discount any contractor on the basis of preliminary estimates. If preliminary estimates are too expensive, either scale back your project or go back to C-1. Be honest with yourself.

D. HOW MANY CONTRACTORS SHOULD BE INTERVIEWED AND HOW SHOULD THE FINAL SELECTION BE MADE?
1. Is quality or cost your primary consideration? / If cost only, skip the rest of this section, advertise your job at the local builders exchange, and cross your fingers.
2. Ask no more than three contractors to look at your job. If competitive bidding is still important, review #1.
3. More than any other professional experience/ investment in your life, your relationship with your contractor will be the longest, most personal, most impactful than any other that you may have during your lifetime.
4. Your primary consideration should be to select the contractor that you feel will live up to your expectations of quality, responsiveness, communication, and compatibility. Your building investment is an investment not only in dollars, but in the quality of your life … often the rest of your life.

II. CONTRACTS – WHAT KIND ARE BEST?

Because everyone is different, there are differing levels of contract risk and security. There are three basic kinds of contracts and an infinite number of hybrids. (One hybrid is explained below):

A. FIXED BID

Simple. What you see is what you get – unless of course there are a lot of additions or changes during the course of construction.

Possible drawback:
All risk resides with the contractor. Accordingly, certain allowances must be built into the contract price to allow for the unexpected. If you are a great customer and the unexpected becomes minimal, you may be paying too much in the end.

Largest drawback:
Many contractors today are in the habit of “lowball” fixed bid pricing in order to contract with the anticipation of adding costs to the job with change orders for work that was not estimated properly. They typically oversell the low price issue and use it as a marketing tool. This practice hurts everyone.

In the end, you may pay far more than you would have from a contractor who estimated the job properly.

B. COST PLUS A PERCENTAGE

Cost of doing the work and conducting business is clearly defined in the contract, and records are carefully kept to reflect this cost. Progress billings include costs plus an agreed upon fee which is a percentage of costs being billed. The advantage to this type of contract is that you will only be charged for work that is actually performed and no more. Usually, the contractor is willing to make his fee very reasonable because the owner assumes the overall cost risk.

Possible drawback:
Imperfect communications about the cost impact of changes in the work or unexpected conditions may lead to higher than anticipated overall costs.

C. COST PLUS A FEE

Similar to B, instead of a percentage of costs being charged, the fee is a fixed figure, which is predetermined before the start of work. The risk here is shared. The incentive for the owner is that the profit paid to the contractor will be fairly represented by the preliminary estimates prepared by the contractor. The incentive for the contractor is to complete the work in a timely manner.

D. HYBRID – COST PLUS A PERCENTAGE WITH A MAXIMUM PRICE

Combines A and B.
Guarantees a maximum price for the work (before changes or additions) while only charging for costs incurred. Included is a contract provision for rewarding the contractor with a percentage of any savings realized below a maximum price. This provision creates a unity of purpose between the owner and contractor for keeping costs down. A real win-win for both parties.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you assist me with design and product selections?

A: Absolutely. On every project, particularly residential ones, we typically put together a spreadsheet listing each thing that needs to be decided but may not have been selected. With residential customers, that’s often a gigantic hurdle. Their plans may not be developed completely, so they might need guidance, and we provide it.

Q: Who will be running the job?

A: We have superintendents and foremen. We assure our customers there will be one contact person and leader on the project from start to finish. Also, owner Bill Hinkamp is involved in each project at the outset. When we get involved with a project designed by somebody else, by the time we get through estimating it, we typically know more about it than the architect does.

Q: How long will my project take?

A: We always have a schedule at the beginning of a project, but it’s not unusual for there to be changes and additions as it moves along. Initially, we have either on-site or telephone meetings about these issues, so customers are always informed about what will happen and when. Typically, as customers become more comfortable and accustomed to us and our process, those meetings become much more casual. Sometimes, they’re cancelled altogether, but at least clients know the time is set aside for them.

Q: I’m always hearing about projects that spin out of control. Will mine?

A: Most of the reason for “project creep” is that during the project, you think of something else…and then something else. Pretty soon, it’s beyond the scope of the plans. But we make sure the customer is involved with the process. If something comes up, we’ll have a conversation about it. If there are changes, you’re the one driving them, not us.

Q: What’s it like to live in a house during construction? What’s your policy on clean up?

A: Whether you’re living there during construction or not, we leave the job site broom-clean at the end of every day. When you come home, or if you just want to walk through the job site, there won’t be any hazards. You can see the project for what it is, rather than for what’s left behind.If you’re living in the house while we’re working on it, we’ll discuss what spaces are going to be worked on, how we’re going to protect them, and how to gain access to them. We cordon off that area and protect it as much as we can. We use dust curtains with zipper control, so anybody can come in and out without taking the whole thing down.

Q: What can you tell me about your employees?

A: We do background checks on all our employees. We also have an employee manual, and we hold monthly meetings on handling job situations and company protocol. Everybody knows what’s important.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Rockridge Builders

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Bill Hinkamp

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Bill Hinkamp is owner of Rockridge Builders, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (510) 761-6917 or by email.

Bill Hinkamp: Designing and Building a Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND — Even while studying architecture in college, Bill Hinkamp never lost his love for construction. Later, he would merge his dual interests into a single professional venture. “I’ve always been involved in construction and I continued to be attracted to the industry during my time at UC Berkeley,” he affirms. “Since I was studying architecture, I increasingly began to see construction as a design/build discipline, which would inform my later career.”

Following college graduation, Bill went to work for an architectural firm, but it wasn’t long before he found himself involved in construction once again. “A couple of years into my stint as an architect, I got an opportunity to work as a quality control inspector on a project at the Presidio in San Francisco,” he remembers. “I worked with the general contractor on that project for about a year, and I enjoyed it so much that I quit my job at the architectural firm and went to work for the construction company. A few years later, in 1981, I started my own design/build firm.”

Today, as owner of Rockridge Builders, Bill says his favorite thing about his job is its inherent variety. “I really enjoy getting to work on all different kinds of projects. When I started this business, my philosophy was that we’d never say no to a project, no matter how difficult or unusual it might be. Decades later, that has given us a wide breadth of knowledge and experience, which I really appreciate.”

A resident of Orinda (where he lives with his wife, Louise), Bill spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “My wife and I enjoy the Bay Area and all it has to offer,” he says. “In particular, we like exploring San Francisco and Oakland, checking out different venues and restaurants, and going to Oakland A’s games.” Bill and Louise also like visiting their four grown children. “Our kids are spread out all over the place, from Los Angeles to North Carolina, so we do a lot of traveling to see them. Occasionally, we’re able to get everyone together under one roof, usually for a holiday.”

Bill says attention to detail has been key to Rockridge Builders’ ongoing success. “We’re all about the details and making sure everything is done just right. Quality control and the care that goes into it makes all the difference in a project’s outcome, and if you can instill that care and attention to detail into each member of your team, you’ll have a winning formula.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bill says he’d see the world. “I’d probably travel more. I’ve been to Europe a couple of times, as well as Mexico and Hawaii, but there’s still so much more left to see.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Sometimes both, but mostly I’m an early bird—I usually start my day before 6am.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: El Charro Mexican Dining in Lafayette.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Blue Bloods.”

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: A 3-speed “English Racer” bicycle. It was a Christmas gift when I was 10 years old and I still remember the thrill of receiving it.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Bruschetta.

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Expert articles
  • Getting Ready to Meet with a Remodeling Contractor

    OAKLAND — If you’re planning a remodeling project, one of your first steps should be to meet with a contractor. However, in order to make the most of your initial meeting, it’s best to be prepared by having an idea of what you’re looking for in your remodeled space. Here are a few tips for getting ready:

    Browse design ideas. If you’re struggling to come up with design ideas for your remodeling project, go online. These days, homeowners have access to all kinds of home remodeling and design resources on the web. For example, Houzz is a fantastic resource that’s well-organized and easy to use.

    Make a list. Write up a list of features you’d like to include in your remodeled space, organized by room. These features may include everything from cabinetry and countertops to finishes and appliances. Feel free to be as detailed as you want.

    Draw a picture. Sketch out a floor plan and/or an illustration of what you’re envisioning for your remodeled space. Don’t worry—your drawing doesn’t have to be a work of art. Even a crude sketch can communicate a design idea better than a verbal explanation.

    Price-shop products online. Browse prices for various appliances, fixtures and materials, and take notes on what you find. This preliminary research can be helpful for your contractor when it comes to putting an estimate together.

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Expert video tip
  • Video: Preparing to Meet with a Building Contractor

    Complete Video Transcription:

    OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning to meet with a building contractor, taking some preparatory steps will help you make the most of your discussion. Today we’re in Oakland with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Bill Hinkamp of Rockridge Builders to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Bill Hinkamp: The best way for customers to prepare for a meeting with us is to be as detailed as they possibly can be. Making a drawing – as scary as that may be – even a crude drawing on an eight and a half by eleven piece of paper showing, you know, what you’d like to do, how you might want to expand your existing space. Does it include doors and windows, cabinetry, combining two rooms into one – all those things are things that are easy to communicate with a drawing, and a lot more succinct than just, you know, walking around and – what we like to call – waiving your arms.

    So, that, plus a detailed outline of all the things that you’d like to include, starting with the room name and the features that you’d like to include in that room. If there’s more than one, or if it’s a whole wing of a house. You know, what you’d like to see in each particular room. List the cabinets, finishes, towel selections if you are already seeing them, as well as pictures and photographs from things that you’ve already seen and really, really like.

    Obviously every job is different, but starting with that – people used to go through magazines and clip pictures, but now you can access that information relatively easily on the internet. Houzz.com is a fantastic resource – really well organized. And, I like to encourage people to, you know, get as much of that online shopping done, you know, beforehand so that we can help them organize their job in the best way possible, and put together a budget for them much, much more quickly too.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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Rockridge Builders WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
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Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Rockridge Builders
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

Each surveyed customer was asked, “If you needed any helpful expertise, did this company provide that expertise?” To calculate this score, total “Yes” responses were divided by total responses (excluding those that stated they hadn’t needed any expertise).

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 75 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Rockridge Builders : Average 9.4 out of 10 based on 75 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

C.S.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

1 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Great attention to detail

Attention to detail and thinking of things I didn't think of

Agnes R.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

2 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a good job.

The way that they worked was great. The price wasn't bad.

Ann B.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

3 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did the job better than I was expecting.

One thing I liked a lot is the fact that they were safe while on the job. I thought they were competent, conscientious, and informative. I felt like they really knew what they were doing and not just winging it.

Chris B.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

4 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very thorough with the assessment and quote process. Their team was just outstanding, and they did high quality work. They were also very respectful.

I would say the communication was very strong throughout the job and that stood out for me. There were no surprises. He also found the best way to accomplish things without charging a lot. They just really struck a good balance.

Andy C.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

5 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I have used them before, and they just do great work. They provided great craftsmanship with strong attention to detail. They were very thorough and conscientious.

They were very strong working on historic buildings.

Charles H.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

6 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were excellent, and Bill took care of all of the permits, which was really helpful. I liked all of the subcontractors that Bill uses. They have been with him for a long time. They are all great, really reliable, and trustworthy.

Bill comes to you with very high standards.

Will K.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

7 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very easy to work with, and they were just wonderful. I cannot say enough about them. The job was very intrusive, and they really went with the flow. They did very high quality work, the subcontractors were great, and the crew was amazing.

I would say just the whole thing, in addition to everything else, they were very neat and tidy. They just did an amazing job. We had life experiences intrude part way through the project, which threw a monkey-wrench into everything. They reacted wonderfully and just got the job done.

Jamie L.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

8 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a really good job. They did it correctly, and it turned out just fine.

Working with Bill was great. He came out, looked everything over, and really noted the scope of the job. It was more than we expected, but we wanted it done right and so did Bill.

Teresa L.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

9 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would highly recommend them to anyone. They have a standard that is so high, and they do not compromise. They are far and above light years better than anyone else. I will only work with them in the future.

Two things come to mind, the supervisor, Jay, always made me feel taken care of. He was always proactive and so responsive. Also, the owner, Bill, doesn't do anything halfway. He has his own very high standards and does not compromise, as I said before.

Jonathan P.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

10 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are a small, professional, and a local company. They do great work. They really understood our unique needs and did a great job. They also did a small and larger job for us. They have the right subcontractors, and we would definitely use them again.

I would say the owner, Bill, really stands out. He is a very personable guy and very responsive.

Graham P.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

11 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I have already referred two friends to them.

Their expertise and reliability stood out for me.

Don S.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

12 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were great.

Nothing in particular

Shirley W.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

13 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't have a great relationship with them.

They always return my calls.

Brad S.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

14 of 75

Quality 9
9 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very professional, super easy to work with, reliable, and they cleaned up every day.

Nothing in particular, they were always on time and responsive to us and our architects. They were the best contractor that we've ever worked with.

Carlene A.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

15 of 75

Quality 8
8 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very thorough, and they had a very competent foreman with strong attention to detail.

I would say their strong attention to detail stands out for me.

Bill G.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

16 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very professional, and they do quality work. They anticipate and identify potential problems before they occur.

Their workmanship is excellent.

Chantal S.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

17 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I have recommended them to my friends in the past, and I'd recommend them again.

Diligent, competent, personable, and punctual

Charles F.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

18 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're knowledgeable, trustworthy, and communicative.

I have confidence in their work.

Charlotte D.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

19 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would say they're very efficient. Everything looks better than it did when it was new. The guys are all very nice and courteous. They're a little on the expensive end, but you get what you pay for.

I like that they're on time, neat, and that they always explain what they're doing. If at any point they wanted to tweak something, they would run it by me first, which I appreciated. They finished on time and on budget. They were here for about 4 months doing a fairly large job. I don't think I ever had a bad day with them or ran into any issues.

Clark T.

VERIFIED Rockridge Builders CUSTOMER

20 of 75

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They are honest, reliable, and they do very high quality work.

Bill Hinkamp, the owner, is an exceptional person.

Read All 75 Survey Responses at Ratings View