Top 10 Questions To Ask When Choosing a General Contractor
Every construction project requires a general contractor to go through the process, and they can do much more than just supervising.
General contractors are responsible for managing all aspects of a construction project from beginning to end, including hiring subcontractors and suppliers, negotiating contract terms with clients, preparing budgets, and preparing schedules.
With that in mind, we know for sure why it is so important to pick the right general contractor for your upcoming project.
In this article, we’ll cover tips on how to choose the best general contractor and the most important questions that you should ask before signing the contract.
10 Tips to Ensure You Hire the Right General Contractor
When it comes to home renovations, people often think that all contractors are the same.
In reality, there are a number of factors that go into choosing the right contractor for your specific needs.
Hiring a contractor is the most important step a business owner will take when building a new facility or updating existing space.
The key to hiring an efficient, trustworthy contractor lies in your ability to ask the right questions before you hire a contractor.
Here are the top 10 questions you should ask when choosing a general contractor:
1. How many years have you been in business?
We want to start with this one here because experience is critical in the contracting industry. In general, you should seek contractors with at least several years of proven industry experience.
Also, make sure your general contractor is familiar with your local building code requirements and the permitting process in your community.
Put simply, you don’t want to hire a contractor who is new in town and unfamiliar with the regulations that will apply to your project.
2. Which types of insurance do you carry?
As they say, better safe than sorry.
So first thing first, your contractor should have general liability insurance that protects your home and property in the event of an accident.
For example, if they hit a water line and flood your house, you can rest assured knowing they’ll take care of the cost of this type of disaster.
Second, your general contractor should also carry workers’ compensation insurance.
This protects you from liability if someone is hurt while working on your property.
It’s also smart to ask which insurance companies the general contractor has relationships with. By partnering with local insurance agents, the general contractor likely knows which route you should take when it comes to what is covered and what is not covered under the property owner’s insurance coverage.
Here at RoofTec Precision Exteriors – we work with ALL insurance companies.
3. Will you hire sub-contractors for the job?
General contractors will often need to subcontract work out to plumbers, painters, electricians, and other specialists.
Ask for the name of every person they will hire, as well as the type of work they do.
Use this information to verify these credentials and ensure they also have the necessary insurance requirements.
Contracting companies often work on multiple projects at a time, so it’s important to verify that you can count on consistency in who comes to work on your home each day.
4. How long should I expect for the project to be completed?
Be sure to make a contractor aware of any urgent deadlines before signing a contract.
Ask the contractor to provide an estimated project schedule in writing.
5. Can you provide a list of previous customers?
One of the best ways to learn more about a potential general contractor is from credible sources.
Talk to former clients who have hired the general contractor you’re considering. Ask them about the process, as well as the final product.
And, if they would you hire this general contractor again?
6. What is your working day like?
It’s important for both homeowners and contractors to know what to expect on construction days before work begins.
This is true even if you aren’t home while the team gets to work.
Questions might include something like:
• Do you need me to be home at any point during the day?
• What are the approximate start and end times for construction day(s)?
• Do I need to remove any items that are in or near work areas?
• What will the noise level be like?
• How will you clean up at the end of the day?
• How and where will tools and materials be stored if the job spans multiple days?
7. What’s your typical payment schedule?
The payment schedule is important for both you and the contractor you choose to partner with.
You don’t want to pay the full price upfront, and most contractors won’t ask you to do so.
Discuss payment terms before work begins, including payment amounts, key deliverables, and due dates.
Don’t forget to ask, “Do you have any financing programs?”.
Our answer is, yes! Learn more about our financing services here.
8. How will additional charges be dealt with?
No matter the reason, it’s critical that your contractor assures you that he won’t spend a penny over your agreed-upon budget without first gaining your approval — and if you hire him, this should also be specified in your contract.
9. What way would you like me to get in touch with you?
Identify a designated point of contact, as well as the best way to reach that person.
Find out what times he’ll be available to respond to you, as well as the method of contact he prefers.
Finally, ask for a general timeframe that you should expect to hear back from him.
10. How do we resolve any disagreements?
This is a crucial question because, unfortunately, mistakes and disagreements do sometimes occur, despite the best intentions of contractors and homeowners.
Asking a contractor how he handles disputes tells you that he has a process for taking care of situations in which clients aren’t fully satisfied.
How To Choose The Best Contractor For The Job?
The best contractors are hard to find. Generally, it’s not the contractor’s fault – there are many misleading tips to misleading information about how to make the selection process easier.
Some people will tell you that it is safe to hire a contractor based on diversity or award bids based on price alone. This isn’t always the case!
Before hiring a contractor, it’s important to verify their references and license status while understanding the needs of your specific project.
In many cases, homeowners are looking for a contractor to perform a difficult job that will take a lot of time and money.
Choosing the right one can make a big difference in the finished product.
There are a few steps you’ll want to take to find the best contractor for your project.
1. Specify Your Project’s Goals
Think about the specific needs of your project before you move on to selecting a contractor.
Are you remodeling one room or an entire home? Do you need someone who also has experience with landscaping and dry scaping? What about someone who has experience renovating a wood-frame house versus a concrete-block home?
These are the types of questions you should ask yourself when determining which contractor is for you.
2. Go Through The Bids
After you have decided on your project’s goal, now it’s time to obtain multiple bids.
Don’t ever accept a bid over the phone. Make sure you have met the contractor in person and walked them through the home.
Conducting a walk-through with the contractor and explaining the renovation in detail is the best way to ensure you receive an accurate cost estimate.
3. Consider Their Availability
How available is the contractor? If the contractor is in high demand, then you’ll likely have to pay more for their services.
Keep in mind, though, that a contractor who is in high demand is also one who is clearly good at their job (and maybe worth the wait!).
However, if you need someone who can start work on your project asap, then you’ll need to find a contractor with more availability.
4. Meet Their Team And Subcontractors
You’ll be interacting and dealing with the contractor’s team and subcontractors on a regular basis.
You’ll want to do the same due diligence on your subcontractors as you do for your contractor. Be sure to also ask about the contractor’s management style.
5. Check Reviews And References
Be sure to check a contractor’s reviews. We recommend first searching for a contractor’s Better Business Bureau profile to obtain information about their complaint history and customer reviews.
Or, you can directly ask them for references so you can check their previous work.
Hiring a General Contractor – Final Thoughts
As a homeowner, you want to make sure that any contractor that you hire to work on your house is the best for the job.
There are many different things to consider when picking a contractor, and this article covers just some of the items you should keep in mind when choosing the right general contractor for your project. At the end of the day, choose someone you feel comfortable with. An honest, dependable general contractor will always steer you in the right direction.
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