Everyone has heard the horror stories about the search for a general contractor, and while the process can be stressful and time consuming, it is extremely rewarding to have a project that is fulfilled to the highest expectation. Be diligent with your search for a good contractor and be sure to vet them accordingly. Here are some things you should keep in mind regarding general contractor services for your renovation project.
Finding a Contractor
It’s hard to know what you are getting with a general contractor you have not worked with previously, so you’ll want to give yourself different choices and options to weigh. On the other hand, you should know exactly what you want from a contractor, so have plans and ideas in place before even discussing your project with one.
Local contractors are preferential, so ask yourself, who are the best general contractors near me? Chances are, someone you know has worked with them if they are local. You may even want to try doing a search for terms that will bring you nearby contractors, like “general contractors near me”, “residential general contractors near me”, or “commercial general contractors near me”. Gauge these localized choices based on their reviews, references, and the quality of their projects, and cross reference them on other websites and directories.
Look to your peers for recommendations. Talk to friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone you know has worked with local general contractors. Instead of an anonymous review online, these people can fully corroborate their experience and you can trust them.
Based on all these research methods, you should have at least three candidates that you are considering for your general contractor services. You should also inquire about their team of subcontractors, as this can be a deciding factor for your choice on who to hire.
Hiring a Contractor
Narrowing down these choices should depend on a variety of things. The most important of which will likely be their bid. Ideally, a good general contractor will give you an itemized list so that you are able to see the costs associated with each element in your renovation, down to things like trash removal, drywall installation, plumbing, electrical, and carpentry.
Review the contract of your decided general contractor and be sure you understand all components and all necessary items have been included. It should include all permits and approvals that will be obtained by your general contractor, the start and end dates for the project, and the schedule of payments that you will make out to the contractor. An important component to note is if there is a changes clause — meaning if things are added to the project, both you and your general contractor must agree on them. It’s up to you to make sure you’ve done your due diligence in finding general contractor services that will deliver before you sign a contract with them.
And as a note, the great general contractors tend to be scheduled out for a while, so if you have a high quality contractor, don’t expect them to be available immediately. It will take some time to schedule a time that works for their team.
Working with a Contractor
Make sure you have a good working relationship with your general contractor, as they will be spending a lot of time around your home and your family, and a relationship that meshes well makes for a much enjoyable, seamless experience on all fronts. Communication should be a priority, as there will likely be many moving parts to your project, and you should remain in the loop regarding the general contractor services being provided.
When the work actually begins, you’ll want to keep an eye on the general contractor services taking place to ensure all promised aspects of the project are being attended to. Take stock of things like timeliness, and how that affects the project as a whole. If there is an issue with the subcontractors showing up on time and it disrupts the workflow, schedule, and work is poorly crafted, you can discuss this with your general contractor. Be sure to document any discrepancies with the full details, like the days and times of each occurrence. Also, if any changes occur within your plan, make sure you are keeping track of anything that was amended so that you can ensure your general contractor remains within budget and on schedule. While they should be actively managing the whole project, you should also act as a second set of eyes to verify.
Lastly, provide specifications for the smaller things that come with working on your project, like arrival time, departure time, break specifications, where they should use the bathroom, when the family will be home, etc. This will ensure a smooth process for all involved.