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Hiring a General Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project: Tips To Find The Best One

 

Some homeowner has a story about that one contractor they should’ve never hired. The ones who take your deposit and disappear, those who say they do one service but don’t do the other half of the job, and those who are always late or finish way too soon. Hearing this may make you hesitant to hire a contractor for your project. But if you are planning to make a home improvement, there’s always a possibility that you will need the help of a professional, especially for large projects. If you are planning to do a home improvement project, you should be very sure that you hire the right contractor so that you won’t regret it due to something failing.

However, finding and choosing the right general contractor can be a challenge. It’s essential to do your homework and take the time to find a contractor you can trust who will provide superior quality workmanship at a fair and reasonable price. 

This blog post will provide tips to help you find the best general contractor for your home improvement project. From researching potential contractors online to understanding the relevant local licensing and insurance requirements, this guide will walk you through the process of choosing the right contractor for your project. Whether you’re planning an extensive kitchen remodeling, a home addition, or a simple bathroom remodel, the information presented here will give you the knowledge and confidence to make the best decision for your home.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed General Contractor

For those people who are planning to have a large-scale home improvement project, hiring a general contractor can be very beneficial for various reasons. 

  • Professional Advice and Guidance – If you are planning a large-scale home improvement project that requires expertise and professional guidance, hiring a general contractor can be very beneficial. They will be able to provide you with professional advice and valuable information on how to achieve the goal of your construction project effectively and cost-effectively.
  • Save Money and Time – Hiring a general contractor will help you save money and time because someone with extensive experience in construction handles your project. They have the necessary equipment to do the job, and they only hire highly skilled workers to do the job.
  • Access to a Larger Network of Resources – Hiring a general contractor will also be beneficial to you because they have a network of resources that can be useful to you, such as subcontractors, suppliers, etc.
  • Quality Assurance Guarantee – You are also given the security that in case there is any problem or defect in the project’s workmanship and materials, the general contractor is responsible for fixing it.

Hiring a General Contractor: Tips to Find the Best One

There are sure to be many benefits to hiring a general contractor. However, determining which general contractor to hire can be tricky because there are lots of them out there. You must find a good one to ensure that your home improvement project will be handled properly and successfully.

1. Ask for Recommendations

 

To start your journey of finding a good general contractor, ask for recommendations from others who have had home improvement projects done in the past. Do not forget to locate a contractor your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors recommended. 

You may talk with a reliable building inspector, who will know which building contractors routinely meet code requirements. Also, if you have the time, you can pay a visit to a local lumberyard, which sees contractors frequently and knows which ones purchase quality materials and make payments on time.

2. Conduct Phone Interviews

Once you have come up with a list, it’s time for you to make a quick call to each of your potential contractors and go through these questions to ask the contractor:

  • Does the firm handle projects of your size?
  • What relevant experience do they have with this type of project?
  • Can they give you a list of past clients?
  • For how many years has the company been in operation?
  • Do they have the required permits or licenses?
  • Is the company willing to provide financial references from banks or suppliers?
  • How many other projects would they be working on at the same time?
  • Are they insured?

The answers to these important questions will help you determine whether the company is reliable and has enough experience to accomplish your project.

3. Schedule a Face-to-face Meeting

 

Based on their answer from the interview, pick three or four to meet face-to-face for estimates and further discussions. The potential contractor must be able to respond to your questions sufficiently and in a manner that you feel comfortable with. You two must communicate well and establish mutual trust. There are circumstances where you can discuss the project plan and specify concerns, expectations, and ideas.

On the other hand, never let personality fool you. Check in with your local BBB (Better Business Bureau) before you hire a general contractor to ensure they do not have a history of disputes with subcontractors and clients.

4. Investigate the Underlying Facts

You have narrowed down the list of possible general contractors, but you still have to be sure that they can do the job right. So, you put your research to use. Call up past clients to determine how their projects went and ask to see their final product. 

But we mustn’t rely on results alone. Even more vital, visit a current job site and observe how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are the workers respectful and careful with the homeowner’s property?

5. Plan, Then Get Multiple Bids

 

You have a short list of contractors whose work histories show reliability and whose work ethic seems responsible. It is time to stop looking back at previous work and begin looking forward to your home improvement project. A conscientious contractor will want not just a whole set of blueprints but also a sense of what clients want out of a home improvement project and what they plan to spend. 

In order to compare bids, ask the potential contractors to break down the cost of materials, profit margins, labor, and other expenses. Materials account for forty percent of the overall cost; the rest covers overhead and the profit margin of fifteen to twenty percent.

6. Set Up a Payment Schedule

Another essential tip for hiring the best general contractor is to set up a payment schedule ahead of time. The payment schedule can speak to a general contractor’s level of professionalism. If the contractors want half the bid up front, they may have financial issues or be worried that you will not pay the rest after checking the work. 

For bigger projects, a schedule usually begins with ten percent at contract signing, 3 payments of twenty percent evenly spaced over the duration of the home improvement project, and a check for the last fifteen percent when you feel the contractor has completed their work to your satisfaction.

7. Never Let Price Be the Guide

Choosing contractors who offer low bids on your home improvement project is always tempting, but you must never let price be the guide. A contractor may not offer the lowest bids out there, but they can be the best general contractors once you take into account their experience, quality of materials, and past performance, which are all more critical to a successful project.

8. Put It All in Writing

 

Once you find a contractor to work on your project, get a written contract. Consider having a trusted lawyer review the contract for protection before you sign it if the project involves substantial costs. A well-written contract should include the following:

  • A specific timetable for when you expect each phase of the project to begin and end.
  • The quality of materials that will be used in your project and the price of each item
  • A payment schedule – for instance: one-half down and one-third when the project is partially completed, and the balance due upon completion of the work.
  • The remedies will be in place should you encounter problems with the general contractor.
  • Any insurance or liability policies that must be provided.
  • Signatures from both parties. You must not sign a contract containing blank sections.

Changes to the contract must be acknowledged by both parties in writing. Ask the general contractor for confirmation that they have obtained all applicable building permits. If you come to a decision to cancel a signed contract, you must follow the contract’s cancellation clause. Written notification of the cancellation must be sent by registered mail to ensure you have proof of the cancellation.

9. Expect Delays

Be prepared for delays even if you work with the best general contractors. A delay is a thing that can happen to any project. When you are dealing with the weather and an unexpected event, anything can happen, so even if the best general contractors are hired, they might not be able to complete the work on time.

If there is a delay in the project, communication is vital. If you need to contact your contractor for updates, try email first, then follow up with a phone call. If you do not hear back within twenty-four hours, it is perfectly fine to call them again or seek out other resources.

Final Thoughts

It is indeed true that finding a general contractor is not an easy task for most homeowners. You should understand that you do not necessarily need to hire the lowest bidder, but it is equally important to find a contractor who will provide you with quality work and services.

If you are in the process of finding a potential contractor for your home improvement project, You may consider Cabal Construction as a great option. They are dedicated to providing their clients with the highest quality workmanship, professionalism, and customer service. They are also very knowledgeable about construction and can help you make informed decisions for your project. Cabal Construction will provide you with a free cost estimate; you may connect with them by filling out the contact form.