How To Pick A General Contractor For New Home Construction or Remodeling
The first step in picking a general contractor is to select what type of general contractor you will need to do your home remodeling project. Do they specialize in all areas of home construction and remodeling or do they specialize in one area such as bathrooms and/or kitchens remodeling?
If you are doing new home construction or doing a total home renovation choose a general contractor who specializes in these areas. If you just looking to do a kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel then you might be better off choosing a contractor who focuses on these areas.
Regardless of who you choose, you should follow some basic rules to make sure you select a reputable general contractor. This is your house and you should make sure the general contractor you choose will treat the job and your home as if it was their own.
To begin, employ a contractor with an established business in your area. Make sure the business address is a physical address and not a P.O. Box. Then make sure they are licensed in your area and have liability insurance to protect your property from any accidental damage that could occur during construction. Many places require Workmen’s Compensation to cover workers that may get injured during construction and many towns will now require proof of insurance to obtain a Building Permit. In addition all sub contractors on the job should also be covered.
Ask the contractor to provide insurance documentation you can verify. A reputable contractor will have no problem providing you with copies of these documents. If they cannot provide this information you should cross them off your list.
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Next ask for several client references and if needed to call and ask questions such as did the general contractor complete the remodeling project on time and within the budget agreed upon, did the completed job meet or exceed your expectations, how neat were they in your home, did the workers show up when they were supposed too, if there were problems a month or two after the job did they come back to fix it in a timely fashion, etc. See if you can see the finished job the contractor did for yourself.
Gett a detailed written estimate. Any general contractor who does not provide you with this should also be crossed off your list. Get at least three estimates and then compare prices. Remember the lowest bidder is not always the best to go with. If there are major differences in the quotes you receive investigate further. Ask questions such as what type of materials will they be using; what is the time frame, how many workers will be on the job, what is the warranty, etc. Compare apples to apples and make sure you are getting quoted for similar work and materials from all contractors bidding on the job. Remember that materials such as kitchen cabinets, counter tops, bathroom vanities, flooring, etc. are not all the same.
Sign a written contract. The contract should clearly state what the general contractor will do from the beginning to end of your job, what supplies and material types are included, the payment schedule and the time line for the remodeling or new home construction project to be completed.
Find out if they a member of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). NARI is a not-for-profit trade association with more than 50 years of industry experience and is dedicated to enhancing the professionalism of the construction industry and serving as an ally to the homeowner.
You may also want to call the Better Business Bureau or Department of Consumer Affairs and see if there are any complaints filed against the general contractor and if so what are they doing to resolve them.
Visit sites such as Find A Pro to read contractors reviews. These can be excellent resources to read what others have to say about their experience with the general contractor.