Building, expanding, or remodeling a home requires a lot of work, and it’s not something you could tackle on your own. Putting this job into the hands of a general contractor is the first step in seeing that the job move forward in a way that is well-planned and organized…but only as long as you find a contractor you can truly count on.
A general contractor is a person responsible for overseeing what goes on at a construction or remodeling site from day to day, managing the various people working on the job, and serving as the main line of communication between all involved parties. Searching for a general contractor can be tough work because you need someone you can trust in this role to keep things moving along smoothly. If you’re stuck on this process, we’re here to help with 5 aspects we think you should look for when it comes time to hire.
1. An Established, Accredited Company
We don’t recommend hiring someone without an established place of business—a headquarters with an office where the contractor can estimate costs, prepare documents, and meet with potential clients. It’s an important part of a contractor’s business, but too many new businesses try to get by without it, which is disruptive to a project.
You should also make sure they have the right insurance and licensing and are in good standing with a trade organization. A well-established company will also have been in business for several years. It’s the only way to know for sure they won’t take your money and run.
2. Do You Like Their Work?
This should be the most important question you ask yourself in the end. Price is certainly a high priority, but first and foremost, do you like their work? A contractor should give you tons of images of projects they’ve completed in the past. This includes projects similar in scope to yours. If you are unsure of a contractor’s work for any reason (other than that the homeowners’ styles clash with your own, as this is out of the contractor’s control), don’t hire them!
3. A Reasonable Bid
We should start this point off by saying we don’t think the cost should be the only factor you look at. Great companies charge more because they do amazing work. Still, you should make sure you’re not being overcharged. Do your homework, check prices for materials, and get at least 3 bids from contractors before making your selection.
4. Pay Attention to Warning Signs
We’ve seen too many remodeling or building jobs go wrong because people took the contractor at their word instead of paying attention to their actions. You should be in communication with this contractor long before you make your final decision, and remember that actions speak louder than words.
If, for example, the contractor is disorganized and disheveled, that may be foreshadowing what is to come. If they say they will get you an estimate in one week that doesn’t arrive for two, they likely will not deliver projects on time either.