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How to hire a great general contractor

Photo Credit: shotbydave/iStock Photo

If you’re thinking about hiring a general contractor, you are going to want to make sure that you do your due diligence leading up to the hiring process. Of course you are going to want to consider a lot of factors, and price is not the only one!

When it comes to your home, there are so many things to keep in mind. After all, your home should feel like your escape from the busy and stressful outside world. The one thing your home absolutely should not be is a place that constantly reminds you of poor workmanship and construction. However, that might be the case if you end up hiring the wrong general contractor.

That’s why you want to make sure to follow these necessary steps while hiring a general contractor.

Establish your detailed plan

This is at the top of the list for the reason. It’s important for you to set up and establish a detailed plan for what you want before you even start searching for and reaching out to general contractors in your area.

Setting up a straightforward plan means that the first professional you are going to want to work with is very likely a designer or architect. That way, you and the designer or architect can come up with and – quite literally draw – a comprehensive plan to show your contractor. That way, they will know exactly what you have planned and what you want.

Expecting your contractor to know what you actually want them to do without a detailed plan already in place is setting for them and you up for failure. On the other hand, having a detailed plan will make it easier to figure out what kind of pricing is far. The reason why is because first off, the designer will likely be able to consult you on what kind of pricing you should expect, and secondly, because if you do not have a plan you offer the opportunity for them to keep changing the price as they go along.

It is important to mention that permit drawings are not complete plans. They do provide general information about the layout of the job, but do not have information when it comes to finishes, architecture, custom work, electrical fixtures, and more. Make sure that your contractor provides this information before they get to work.

Compare and contrast costs and reviews

Once you have a plan in place as well as a target price point, it is time to start contact and interviewing contractors. While it is often attractive to sign on with the contractor who offers the cheapest work, you should know that there is typically a reason why.

One of the key things to keep in mind is their previous work and reviews from previous testimonials. You should make sure the individual or company name has great reviews online.

One of the best ways to do this is to go on third-party review sites such as Yelp and search their name. Here, you will most likely find a rating and reviews from previous customers and clients. If you do not find any such reviews online, you may want to consider going elsewhere as you have no way of knowing what kind of work and experience they have. If it is a rather small and simple job, you may want to take a risk. However, if the job is more complex and requires a real knowledge of craftsmanship, you are most certainly going to want to go with the best reviewed and most experienced general contractor as possible.

Ensure that your contractor is insured

Chances are good you have heard some of the horror stories of what can happen on a major construction site. With heavy machinery and long hours a near constant on such sites, accidents are an unfortunate norm within the industry.

A contractor has to sometimes manage a significant crew to make sure that your project comes together. It can be a hard and dangerous task.

While you obviously don’t want the worst to happen on your construction site, it is crucial to make sure that all those working on your site are comprehensively insured in case an accident does occur.

You should also make sure to have their insurance information on record so that you are not liable if any mistakes take place.

Prepare for extras

While you are obviously going to have a cost estimate heading into the project, you also want to keep in mind that your contractor may not have priced out some of items for your job. Make sure that you know how your contractor deals with extras. While some contractors may use it as an opportunity to make as much money as possible during a job – since you are already committed to them doing it – , others are quite honest and are willing to work with you to find a price that both you and they are comfortable with.

Ask about timelines and make sure you hold them to it

Ask about your contractors how long they believe it will take to complete the job at hand in full. After that, you will want to add somewhere between four to eight weeks to that timeline in order to temper your expectations. That doesn’t mean that the job won’t necessarily be completed in time, but it is important to be realistic about the task at hand.

That being said, if you find that the contractor and their team is seeming to take a long time to do simple aspects of the job, you will certainly want to bring this to their attention. Make it clear that you are steadfastly watching the job as it unfolds and keep them to task.

Finding the right contractor for your job is a crucial aspect of having a successful job. Hopefully these basic guidelines will help you as you begin your search for the right worker for the job.Good luck!

augusta free press
augusta free press