Why Hire A General Contractor And What Does One Do?
Remodeling and customizing a home to your specific needs and wants is an absolute dream for most homeowners. Unfortunately managing and overseeing a large remodeling project is beyond the expertise and experience of the average homeowner. In this case hiring a general contractor who is experienced in overseeing a large project and managing several subcontractors is the ideal solution.
Several home improvement contractors with different skill sets, commonly referred to as subcontractors, will most likely be required to complete most large remodeling projects. It is the job of the general contractor to find, hire and negotiate with the subcontractors to get you the best value for your dollar. Since a general contractor is experienced in all facets of construction and knowledgeable about current materials prices and labor charges, he is the ideal professional to help you manage your next large remodeling project.
How To Find And Hire A Good General Contractor
When it comes to finding and hiring a general contractor for your project I strongly recommend you screen and pre-qualify several general contractors and at least look at three comparable bids from well-qualified professionals. When it comes to screening the general contractors, a good rule of thumb is to use the size and price of the project to determine how intensively you screen each of the general contractors. Obviously a more expensive project and a project that will require a more diverse skill set will require more work on your part to find a good general contractor will be a will to effectively oversee and manage your remodeling project.
The first step in finding a good general contractor is developing a list of about 5 to 10 general contractors which you can begin to screen and remove until you're left with about 3 to 5 good general contractors that you're willing to get a bid from. The key is to get at least three good bids from qualified contractors so that you have comparable bids to look at and compare.
Once you create that list you can begin to screen the contractors and remove the contractors that don't meet your qualifications or standards. One of the first things you want to look at is whether or not the general contractor you are looking at has a license to operate in the state. Another thing you can do is look online for reviews and complaints from past customers. Simply doing a search in Google for the contractors name or business name plus words like review or complaint can turn up a lot of valuable information. You can also look for complaints by contacting your state licensing board, the Better Business Bureau and online on websites like ripoffreport.com.
Below are also some questions you may want to consider asking prior to hiring a general contractor:
- How many similar projects has the general contractor worked on recently? Obviously you want a general contractor that has some recent experience o a project similar to yours.
- How long has the general contractor worked with his sub-contractors?
- Who are his major suppliers and can you speak with them? You can find out a lot of invaluable information from a contractor's suppliers like how he is to work with and how quickly they pay.
- How often is the general contractor typically on site to inspect the work being done?
- You'll also want to ask the general contractor for references that you can speak with and make sure you pick up the phone and call them.
- You'll also want to make sure the general contractor you hire has General Liability and Worker's Compensation insurance to protect your house. Hiring a general contractor without the right insurance is a bad idea as you can be held liable for any accidents that occur on your property during construction.
Before hiring any general contractor you'll definitely want to speak with any references they provided you with. If the general contractor also supplied you with the name of his materials supplier it would also be a great idea to speak with him or her. Finally when pre-qualifying a general contractor, you can also speak with the sub-contractors themselves. Sub-contractors work with general contractors all the time so they can be a gold mine of information as well.
A large remodeling or home improvement project can be a huge headache or it can be a dream come true. The key to making it a dream come true is finding the right professionals to manage your project and ensure that everything comes out exactly the way you wanted it to!