Choosing a General Contractor

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Posted on August 10, 2015

How To Choose The BEST General Contractor For Your Project….

Are you planning on doing some remodeling in your home? Typically if you are planning on sourcing at least three subcontractors (for instance a plumber, electrician and tile installer) then you should look at hiring a GC.

General Contractors are set up to help plan and manage your project from start to finish. A few GC responsibilities are;

  • Estimating and bidding the project
  • Negotiating a contract with the owner
  • Hiring and negotiating contracts with subcontractors
  • Establishing a payment schedule based on work progress
  • Disbursing money to subs and material suppliers
  • Creating a schedule for workers, subs, and deliveries
  • Negotiating material prices and ordering  materials
  • Interpreting the plans and specifications
  • Supervising and coordinating the work of employees and subs
  • Troubleshooting job-site problems

BUT, What should YOU look for in a General Contractor? Here are some tips on finding the best contractor for your job:

1. Referrals! Do you know anyone who recently had work done similar to your own in size and complexity?  Were they satisfied with the work? Would they hire that contractor again? Who did the design work for the job? Did they come in at or under budget? How long did the job take? These are all very important questions that will help you start with the right expectations about who you are going to hire to complete your job.

2. Reviewing sites like Homeadvisor.com, Houzz, Yelp, and even Facebook. These sites all have places for reviews from previous clients. Sites such as Homeadvisor.com even do background checks on the contractors they work with. Make sure you read all of the reviews- not just the good, and not just the bad. If you have any questions about the reviews call the contractor and ask them to describe the job and explain their side of the review.

3. Interview at least three contractors. Ask a lot of questions and get a written bid from each one. When you compare bids, make sure each one includes the same materials and the same tasks, so you’re comparing apples and apples. Get three bids even if you have a contractor you like because you’ll learn something from each interview

4. Check licenses, complaints and litigation history. General contractors and most subcontractors should be licensed. Check the disciplinary boards, Better Business Bureau and local ROC (Registrar of Contractors). Ask the contractor for a copy of his license and copies of the licenses of the major subcontractors who will work on the job.

5. The most important factor in hiring a GC is make sure you feel 100% comfortable with the company you hire. You and your contractor will essentially be business partners for duration of the job, so choose someone with honesty and integrity. Problems will arise during and probably after any large construction job, so it is important to find someone who you feel will act fairly and responsibly in resolving any issues that come up.