Looking for the best general contractor and not sure how to choose the best one? Most in construction would consider it a love/hate connection. Just like some of the best general contractors need consumers to help them make a living, the consumer cannot always live without the knowledge and direction of their newfound best friend for the next four to six months.
As most individuals would agree, biting the bullet and deciding on your construction plans can be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. But, it is the job of the general contractor to make it as easy as possible for you and those individuals who involved with your construction ideas, to find a stress-free environment while constructing your custom project.
That is the reason why I have put together a list of some takeaways that you can use to help find the best general contractor for your construction ideas. Regardless of whether it is a screened porch, renovating your home, construction a separate garage or new construction, this list will help you finally “bite the bullet” and help to get that project on the road to completion.
Go with the Gut
A contractual worker could be in your home and around your family for quite a long time, days, weeks, or even months while altering the way your home looks and functions. So if you do not like a contractor for any reason, do not hire him or her, says Tony LaPelusa, the past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
"The biggest thing is choosing the best general contractor," he explains. "If somebody says something that is even an embellishment, it is enough of a reason not to trust him and move on to some other contractor. You have to trust the contractor 100 percent, not 99 percent."
Ensure the Contractor is Licensed to Work in Your Area, Bonded, and Insured
Having a certified, licensed and insurance shows a contractor's reliability and information, says Bob Peterson, co-owner of Associates in Building and Design Ltd. and chairman of the NAHB Remodelers Council. The license proves that the contractors have taken an exam and showed they know how to build codes and processes. "A license minimizes the risk to house owners of getting ripped off," he says. Certainly, get the contractor's license number.
If a contractor does not have insurance and an employee gets injured on your project, you could be responsible. The same goes with accidents that destruction your next-door neighbor's home. "If you have a frame that fell and scratched the property next door, you want the contractor's responsibility to cover the cost of that damage," LaPelusa says. Get proof of insurance.
Pick a Contractor Who Specializes in Your Project Type
"It is essential to research contractors to know if they have experience in a type of project," Peterson says. "Today, so many different projects are regulated and code-specific that you want someone who knows the details of what is a need and required."
He brings up that advantages often take classes and research the kinds of projects they undertake, so they are specialists in their fields. This enables them to address potential difficulties and do the work properly. "A good contractor knows how to anticipate the nuances of the work," he says.
If you are asking numerous contractors for a bid, to ensure each one is using the same set of ideas and conditions, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advises on its website: "You cannot effectively compare estimates from contractors who plan to use several different brands of building materials."
Have a Comprehensive Contract in Place Before any Work Start
The contract should take care of costs, brands of items being installed, estimated start and finish dates, and the whole set of drawings being used with written specifications, LaPelusa says. "There is never too much detail in a contract." If a specific brand for a part has not been settled upon yet, the contract can include allowances instead, such as "up to $500 for a front door."
Mostly homeowners talk to numerous contractors to get bids on the job, and then they cannot remember who told them what, LaPelusa says. The contract spells out everything. "A contract is an expectation setting, right down to what color the hinges are," Peterson adds. "It is all about prospects. If we settle on everything upfront, then there is no amazement."
Find out Who's Performing the Work
Will the individual you are hiring do the work himself, or will it be subcontracted to someone else? It is nice to know who will be showing up on your doorstep, and plentiful jobs like additions and significant kitchen remodel often involve various subcontractors, such as plumbers and electricians. General contractors often subcontract specialty jobs, like vinyl siding or roofing, to other experts.
"Having subcontractors is at times a good thing. They have a more intensive knowledge of their part of the job," LaPelusa says. "Everything returns to hiring a contractor you can trust because he is never going to put a bad subcontractor on your job."