General contractors are responsible for project supervision as well as supplying labor, tools and materials required to complete each project. There are a number of qualities to look for when hiring a general contractor for your project.
Here are the top five qualities to look for to ensure you get the best value when hiring a general contractor:
Any general contractor that you consider should have a permanent location, including a physical address, telephone number and tax ID number. Never trust a contractor that does not have a permanent location, as they may disappear into the night with your money. However, not all contractors who lack a permanent location are crooks, but it is best to look for one that has taken the time to lay down roots.
2. License and Insurance
Before hiring a general contractor, ask to see proof of licensing and insurance. You should be presented with paperwork that features the contractor's license, bonding and insurance, which includes worker's compensation as well as general liability. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying dearly for accidents and injuries that occur on your job site.
Most top quality general contractors keep contact information for customers whom they have served in the past to use as referrals. Ask the contractor you are considering for your project to provide at least five references. Contact a minimum of three prior customers to enquire about the contractor's reliability, professionalism and the quality of the work done. To earn a good reputation, general contractors must complete projects on time and within the specified budget.
The construction field is full of those who over promise and then under deliver, but a reputable contractor will have repeat customers. If the contractor refuses to provide references or is offended you asked, do not go through with the hire. In addition, if any work is to be subcontracted, you will also need to check the background of the subcontractors as well.
Organization and attention to detail are among the most important qualities to look for in a general contractor. A good contractor must be well organized and able to multitask efficiently. For example, labor for the job must be coordinated properly to avoid things like plumbers and electricians being scheduled to work on the same day, which can greatly hamper progress, as they will get in each other's way.
An organized contractor will also be able to manage their time efficiently in order to finish projects on time. A contractor must be able to successfully manage everything from the pre-planning stage through the construction completion and be able to work up a clear estimate for time and budget. In addition, the contractor must be able to manage ongoing tasks and ensure that all employees and subcontractors are putting forth their best efforts to ensure that the project is completed within the set time constraint.
5. Clear Communication
Communications are crucial for general contracts. It is important that you are able to understand everything you are told about your project clearly from the estimate to progress updates. A contractor must be able to communicate with property owners, workers and subcontractors to meet deadlines and stay on track with the budget. A good contractor will listen to you so they are able to understand your point of view and respond to any questions or concerns that you may have in regard to the work being done.
Before you sign any dotted lines, make sure you have a clear proposal that includes a payment schedule. The written estimate should indicate the initial deposit and the costs associated with each individual task. A clear estimate with specifics will protect you from having to pay for unexpected expenses later.