Hiring a general contractor for your home improvement project is a crucial decision. It involves hiring a team of construction professionals who will oversee every aspect of your project, from scheduling tradespeople to implementing building codes and safety standards.
When deciding to hire a contractor, you should consider your needs and budget. Ideally, you’ll want to find a contractor who offers fair pricing and quality work.
Ask people you know for recommendations and search online for contractors in your area. Sometimes a few good reviews or mentions on social media, chat forums or review sites can be enough to point you in the right direction.
Get quotes from multiple contractors
Before you choose a contractor, gather cost estimates and bids for your project. Getting a handful of written bids from a few good contractors will help you make an informed decision.
Check for experience and expertise
A good contractor should have at least a few years of experience in the field you’re interested in. He or she should also have the necessary licenses and insurance to do the work.
Seek references from previous clients
Before hiring a general contractor, you should always call and speak with their past customers. You should ask if they were satisfied with the work, how well it was completed and whether there were any problems with the process.
You should also ask if there were any complaints filed against the contractor and how they resolved them. You should also request copies of the contractors’ contracts, insurance and other documents.
Observe the chemistry of the people working on your project
A contractor’s chemistry with you is one of the most important factors in making a good choice. A general contractor should be personable, courteous and respect your space. He or she should be punctual and have good communication skills, too.
Keep notes about the contractor and your conversations with them to help you later in the decision-making process. You should also ask them about their professional background and any criminal or disciplinary records, especially if your project involves children.
Ensure that the contractor has the proper licensing and insurance
A general contractor must be licensed to do any type of residential or commercial work. You should also verify that the GC has worker’s compensation and liability insurance, which can help protect you in the event of injuries or property damage.
Obtain a contract and follow it closely
When you hire a general contractor, be sure to sign a contract that details the terms of your project. It should include the scope of work, completion date, payment schedule and a clause that protects both parties in case of delays or other issues.
In addition, be sure the contract includes a section stating the contractor’s responsibility to ensure your project is complete and meets all building codes. If the contractor fails to meet these requirements, he or she may be subject to a fine or penalty by your local building department.