When it comes time to renovate your home or business, you may be considering going through a general contractor rather than several individual subcontractors to get the job done. With dozens of general contractors to select from in Florida alone, selecting the right person for the job can seem overwhelming. How do you know when you’ve found a keeper?
How To Select a General Contractor
Tips for Selecting a General Contractor
In this article, we share some of the top pointers to help you find the right general contractor for your project, so you don’t end up with an expensive learning experience instead of realizing your construction goals. Here are some basic tips for landing a good general contractor for your plans:
1. Find Someone Qualified: You might think it should go without saying, but finding someone licensed within your area is an important first step. This protects you from scams in the short term and being sued in the long term, so be sure to interview the general contractor with relevant credentials in mind. Adhering to this step is an easy way to weed out people who are unqualified for your project.
2. Consider Contractor Specialties: To get the right kind of help, you have to be able to ask for it—so it’s best to have a thorough understanding of the scope of your project. Look for any major focus areas for your construction project at hand and consider going with a contractor who specializes in that area. This will not only improve the likelihood of the job getting done correctly but will also provide you with the rich resource of an experienced contractor who will likely have some good ideas about your project.
3. Get Multiple Offers: If you’re looking to get the job done for the best price, it’s generally smartest to get multiple bids on a project before settling on the right pick. This process involves walking several different general contractors through your home to get their perspectives on the scope of your project. Never accept a bid as final until you move through the physical space with the contractor—this includes offers placed over the phone!
4. Determine Availability: Even the lowest rates don’t do you any good if the contractor isn’t available when you need them to be! Keep in mind that a busy contractor isn’t necessarily a deterrent—sometimes a general contractor is in high demand for a good reason, so it may be worth working around their schedule.
5. Communication Compatibility: How do you best communicate your ideas? How do you receive information best? These are questions to ask yourself when working on any sort of project with another person, let alone a project where the goal is to turn the intangible into the tangible. Because of the nature of construction, it’s best to find someone with whom you can share big concepts and visions. It’s not a bad idea to determine upfront how it is best to reach you, and vice versa.
6. Meet the Team: If you are who you associate with, it’s helpful to meet the team of people behind the general contracting license. If you’re serious about working with a contractor, it’s natural to be curious about their subcontractors and affiliates. Does the contractor perform background checks on the folks they work with, for example?
7. Do Your Research: While it’s important to read reviews and references with a grain of salt, it may be worth your time to see what people have to say who have worked with the general contractor you’re considering. Asking for references during the interview process is a great way to view the contractor’s work history and to hear an account of their performance.
While it might seem like the quality of the construction itself is the primary focus when selecting a contractor, it’s important to consider other aspects of the experience as well. Will the contractor be easy to work with? Does the contractor have a trail of happy customers? Does the contractor specialize in a focus relevant to your project? These are all questions to ask yourself before you select the right contractor for the job.
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