Home or office renovation projects are very complicated. That’s why most people opt to hire a general contractor for their renovation project, and hiring one will make things easier for you. Although general contractors handle all the labor for your home or office renovation project, they play a major role in helping you get your dream home. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you get the right general contractor for your project.
Please note that hiring the right general contractor makes the difference between a successful project and a total disaster. Besides, it’s not that easy to find a reputable general contractor, who will deliver quality results at the end of the project. The process of finding the right general contractor can cause a lot of financial and emotional stress. And while most people are aware of these challenges, they believe that they will never experience them.
The first thing to do when looking for a general contractor is to get estimates from multiple contractors. However, you need to take some extra steps to make sure that you hire a contractor whom you trust and one who feels right for your project.
The following are 5 to-do things when hiring a general contractor.
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Check whether the contractor is licensed
If the contractor is licensed, it means they have met all the set requirements (qualifications and legal) by the authorities. Checking whether your prospective general contractor is licensed is very easy—just visit your state’s licensing office to check the details.
When you open the website, check if the general contractor has a valid license, and for how long has the contractor been licensed. Besides, it’s important to check whether there are any infractions that the contractor might have committed. If these details are OK, you can proceed to the next step.
However, in case you find any issues, you should explore other options. For instance, if the contractor’s license is less than 12 months old or it has some infractions, that’s a serious red flag. There’s a possibility that the general contractor ignored giving you this information, meaning you should consider hiring another general contractor.
Check online reviews
When you Google search the name of the general contractor, you will find reviews on different sites like Houzz or Yelp—that is if the contractor is reputable. However, you should be confirmed if the reviews that you find are for the right general contractor since most contractors in the United State have similar names.
Some general contractors might not have any online reviews or presence. This is an indication that they didn’t take time to market their business, but it’s not something to worry about. However, if the contractor has online reviews, ensure that the positive reviews are more than the negative ones. A handful of negative reviews, especially older ones shouldn’t discourage you from hiring the contractor.
However, it’s important to analyze the negative reviews to determine whether the contractor’s mistake was an accident or intentional. If possible, you can ask the contractor to give you the reasons for the bad review. All in all, if there are several negative reviews, especially in the last 12 months, think twice before hiring the contractor.
Validate the contractor’s insurance certificate
According to the professionals from the general contracting company, AFS General Contracting it’s important to check whether the prospective contractor has insurance. Check to see if the insurance is valid, and check whether it covers their employees—if the contractor has hired employees. In case you need some extra information, you can contact the insurance agent on the certificate to see how they’ve been in business with the contractors. Check to see whether there have been any insurance claims. The last thing you’d want is to hire a general contractor who’s not insured.
Contact their references
When you request a list of references, your contractor will give you their happiest clients. While most people skip this step, it’s important to contact the references—you will be surprised at how much information you will gather once you call them.
Ask them whether the contractor finished the project within time and budget. Ask whether there’s something that the contractor should improve to provide a better customer experience. There’s a possibility that you will get some insights that will influence your final decision.
Interview the contractor before hiring them
One mistake that people make is hiring a contractor and then interviewing them later. However, this can prove to be costly later. Besides, interview the manager or main contractor, not the person who comes to estimate the cost of the project. Mostly, the person at your home or office is a salesperson or an agent—who cannot provide you with the valuable information that you need.
However, it’s recommended that you interview the contractor or project manager with whom you shall be in contact every day. Always make sure that you are comfortable when speaking to this individual and that they don’t intimidate you in any way. See how they respond to the questions that you ask them, and whether they are comfortable working under your terms.
At the end of the day, you will need to hire a general contractor who’s qualified to handle your project. Thus, these things will go a long way to help you hire a professional contractor. Besides, these steps should make it easier to screen your general contractor.