Tips for Choosing a General Contractor

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The task of locating general contractors for your project is easy compared to actually selecting a few and soliciting bids and estimates. Ultimately, you’ll have to settle on one general contractor to tackle your home remodel.

Don’t just choose one and run with it, that’s a sure fire way to overpay and you will likely be unhappy with the results. Compile a list of contractors that are your top choices to eventually qualify three.

From those three contractors, make contact and explain the remodel and the work you’re looking for. Clearly define the design you had in mind, the materials you’re interested in and your vision for the end project.

You’ll need to do this with each of the contractors separately.

You should explain to each that you’re speaking with various contractors and eliciting multiple bids to make the right choice.

During this process, you should also be interviewing the contractor and asking key questions about their business – especially past projects and experience.

A major home remodel is a big investment so you want to make an intelligent and informed decision. Get into the gritty details with the contractor so you fully understand one another.

  • Ask each of the contractors for references – part of your decision should include contacting references and past clients to determine the quality of their work.
  • Discuss where the contractors get their supplies and try to investigate the quality of materials they use as well as the supplier.
  • Get copies of the insurance certificate, both Workmen’s compensation which is required, and liability insurance which is voluntary, protecting the general contractor so you understand the coverage.
  • Discuss the little things that are a part of every project including clean up, waste removal, time on site and quitting time, access in and out of the home, where the crews get electricity, where they will take their breaks, smoking on your property, etc. Make sure everyone is informed as this can help you make a stronger decision.
  • Once you have interviewed and selected three contractors, then provide plans for bidding. There is nothing worse than getting a great price and then finding out the contractor is not qualified.

The law will provide you some protection when selecting a general contractor so you have fewer issues to worry about with fraudulent work and incompetence. Keep in mind though that the law can’t guarantee the honesty or performance of any contractor.

As a homeowner, you need to protect your investment by being a cautious consumer and staying informed. Take the time to research the project you’re planning so that you understand the scope of work.

Once you have all the information you should consider their answers during the interview process. Another factor to include as part of your choice is their understanding of your design and planning as well as their willingness to work with you. A good contractor won’t just smile and nod, they’ll talk with you about your design and may even offer suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of the plan and layout – a good remodeling contractor displays their professionalism and willingness to make sure you get the best results in your remodel.

Under no circumstances should you base your decision on cost alone. A good contractor isn’t a cheap contractor but they’re also not the most expensive. Consider all the information you gathered, including the price bids, when you choose a general contractor for your project. The Contractor’s State License Board recommends serious consideration of the middle bid if there is significant disparity.