5 Tips For Choosing Your General Contractor

June 13, 2019

General contractors – Most in construction would call it a love/hate relationship. Just like general contractors need consumers to help them make a living, the consumer can’t always live without the direction and knowledge of their newfound best friend for the next 4-6 months.

As most people would agree, biting the bullet and deciding on your construction plans can be one of the toughest decisions you will ever make. But, it’s the job of the general contractor to make it as easy as possible for you and those involved with your construction plans, to find a stress-free environment when building your custom project.

That is why we have put together a simple list of five takeaways that you can use to help find the perfect general contractor for your next construction, addition, or remodeling project. Whether it is a screened porch, full-home renovation, building a detached garage, or new construction, this list will help you find the perfect partner to help to get that project on the road to completion.

1. Ask if your contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured.

This should be a given, but some general contractors are not insured or even hold a current up-to-date license. This can make for a HUGE struggle and turn into a mess…quick! Once you have found a legitimate contractor who has a license, ensure that they are bonded to protect the consumer if the contractor fails to complete a job, does not pay for permits, or fails to meet additional financial obligations such as building supplies, subcontractors, or damage at the job site.

General Contractor Looking at building plansDo your research. For a quick and easy reference, ask for the contractor’s license number and look them up using the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors online resource.

Besides, signing on the dotted line with a contractor who has an insurance policy protects you if something goes awry with the company or your project. Don’t be afraid to ask the general contractor for current copies of their insurance policies to make sure they are current and up to date.

2. Do they have quality reviews?

An online presence alone should tell you the WHOLE story of the general contractor you are looking to hire but take it a step further. Check for quality reviews and referrals listed online. Quick tip, if the reviews don’t provide enough information, then we recommend contacting the contractor personally and asking for 3-5 references from previous clients who would willing to share their personal stories and experiences.

FYI, look for reviews like these on our home page.

3. Go Local

Local contractors are always recommended. Find a general contractor who is within an hour’s driving distance and have them provide you with an estimate. The closer the contractor is to your project, the more likely they are to stop by every day, check in with the team on site, and stay involved.

Contact your local chamber of commerce or home builders association, check with local businesses, and start inquiring about the level of involvement the general contractor has in surrounding communities. The more they care about their community, the higher the chances are they will care about the quality of your project.

4. Sign a Contract Before Any Work is Completed

Before you start any project, make sure you receive a detailed contract that covers all costs including the number of items being installed, approximate start and finish dates, and the complete set of drawings that will be used for written specification of your project.

Signing a contract with your contractor helps set the expectations for the project. From the colors of the walls to the type of sink you want, this document will be a lifesaver and can save you a lot of money down the road. If there comes a time when there is a slight disagreement or misunderstanding, always refer to the signed contract. Just remember, a signed contract means no surprises!

5. Meet in Person. Go for coffee or meet for a nice meal.

While all of those things would be nice, meeting in person is a definite must! Meeting with your contractor will help set the tone of the project, establish the professional relationship between you and the contractor, all while creating an opportunity for discussing the project status. From the start date to the finish line, it is always wise to meet with your contractor at least once a week to ensure that everyone is happy, things are progressing on schedule, and you are being provided with the product satisfaction that meets the amount of money they are spending.

I hope these five simple tips help when you are deciding on choosing your general contractor. Let me know what you think by sharing, commenting or providing some even greater suggestions!

Ben Carroll – Owner of Old Oak Construction
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