Choosing A General Contractor


When making the decision to hire a general contractor to take part in your renovation, it’s good to know that the product is one that will last and you will be fond of for years to come. Whether the job is small or larger, the process of choosing the right candidate is one which takes a deal of time, thought and careful consideration.Consider the fact that the individual hired not only needs to have the experience and tools necessary to complete the job, but also the technical, business, and interpersonal skills to do it correctly. You also want to be sure your pick has previous experience in similar jobs so you know he or she will understand which materials and techniques to use.Begin your search by asking for referrals. Check with friends and family members to see who they’ve used in the past and what their experiences were. Chances are you’ll be able to obtain a sizeable list quite easily in this fashion. You might also contact homebuilders, supply stores, and local building departments to see who they’ve used in their projects.Assuming you’re familiar with the basics pertaining to the task at hand, ask a few candidates to come by and discuss the project. This initial meeting will serve as an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other, as well as for the contractor to provide you with a rough idea of their costs associated with such a task. Be prepared with a list of questions:1. What type of work do they specialize in?2. What period of time have they been in business?3. Do they have experience in handling similar projects?4. Do they employ the help of subcontractors?5. What types of work are they licensed in?6. How is cleanup handled?7. Is a work schedule provided?8. What is the insurance and compensation situation?9. Are contracts involved?10. Will they take care of any necessary permits and inspections?A worth-while candidate shouldn’t mind answering your questions.Obtain an EstimateIn order for any contractor to provide a valid estimate; you must give them a written specification. Such a specification should be as definitive as possible in order to avoid any confusion down the road. Outline materials, their sizes, and types.Once an estimate has been given, go through it carefully. This should contain everything the candidate needs to complete the job and address all items detailed in the specification document including work schedule. You should assume that any item not included in the estimate will no be included in your project.By this point, you should have a pretty fair idea of who best suits the position. Do what feels right, and try not to make a decision based on price alone. Trust in your gut. At the end of the day, you tend to get what you pay for.

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