There are a number of things to consider when choosing a residential general contractor. Your choice will impact on the process of realizing your dream home in a huge way. Depending on the job and the service offerings of a contractor, the process can either be complicated or hassle free. From looking through a website, to researching the company, to ascertaining their suitability, you need to be sure you have covered all your bases. The stages of construction can be tedious and will affect you and you want to find a general contractor who will be able to come to the table in just the right way to meet your requirements.
How to Find a Reliable Residential General Contractor
Where to Start
The first thing is to know what it is you are looking for. Are you doing alterations or building from scratch? Are you looking for a job to be completed with a certain level of expertise with a specific kind of project? Consider the extent to which you want to be involved or how much you would like to be managed for you. Once you have these questions answered, then you can begin to look for a suitable residential general contractor. Their website should be able to tell you a lot about the contractor and how many of your needs they will be able to meet.
What to Look For
There are certain things that need to be checked before employing any contractor for the job. Find out if they are up to date with all changes and updates with building codes. The contractor needs to be licensed and insured in the right way. Check that all of this is in order. Find out if they are able to complete all work you want done or if they will need to outsource any of the work. It may be better to be dealing with a sole entity that controls the project from start to finish. Consider the benefits of a Design-Build approach.
Their website should make it pretty easy to contact them, and their follow up with you as a client should be on point. The last thing you want is a contractor that is difficult to communicate with as this will slow down your renovations or building project in unnecessary ways.
Aside from ensuring that the contractor is registered, licensed, and insured, do some more research and find out as much as you can about any past projects in which they have been involved. Look through testimonials, look up reviews, and browse their gallery. Once happy and hired, make sure their license number appears in any contract before you sign.
When checking what services are offered and it seems as though you can get it all done by the same general contractor, a good next consideration is to inquire after the extent to which they would be able to deal with admin over plan approvals and if they are connected enough to get approval easily. If you are sure that the contractor is able to provide all services you require, and you have asked all your questions to the tune of satisfactory answers, make sure to get it all in writing.
The Issue with Trust
Expect the Unexpected
A lot can go wrong, or at least not the way you imagined, when doing any kind of construction. Being residential, this will require more careful consideration to find suitable fixes. You don’t need a contractor who is not able to find ways around problems and instead will only provide excuses.
A contractor is doing a great job if they are able to make any decisions easier for you. They will be willing and able to take the time to work with you to ensure that you get as close to your original vision as possible. The less conflict and difficulty in getting to the right solution, the better.
Avoid situations where you are dealing with more than one point of contact. If you are hiring a contractor for your home, look for a company that offers one reliable and invested point of contact. That way, someone is accountable.
Getting it All
You will have the best idea of what you want the finished product to look like, or what purpose it should serve. You know why you have embarked on any kind of home project, and you are the best voice to be defining that dream or vision. It is necessary to have a contractor that listens to that voice and wants nothing more than to experience your joy at getting what you want.
Keeping it Real
The most vital input that a contractor can offer is sound advice on how to make your vision a reality. There may be a few things that won’t work out as you’d like, and a contractor needs to sometimes be a voice of reason, helping to shape your vision into something achievable with all and any constraints.
When is Advice a Value-Add
There is a line between offering sound advice, and making their own jobs easier. Knowing you have found a contractor that you trust and who is putting in the effort to build a long-term relationship, and thus is motivated by integrity, is a key factor in ensuring this line remains clear.
With the right contractor, there should be few obstacles in realizing your dream residence. One of these is your own budget. Be open and upfront about your budget so that you know what can be done and what can’t before you start. This falls into the category of ensuring that everything is set out in writing and that all costs are clearly marked when you are quoted. Give your contractor time to get real time figures, but ensure that your expectations thereafter, time-wise, are definitive.
With so much to consider, it would be great to find a residential general contractor who can offer an all-round service, who knows what they are doing well enough to pre-empt many of your questions and concerns. Once the process begins, there is very little room to back out. This makes it all the more imperative to be very careful in the first step – choosing who to work with.