Updated: Sep 21, 2019
There are a number of important issues to consider when looking for a general contractor. You will obviously want to find a contractor who is best suited for the job, and you will also want to get a good price for quality work. Unfortunately, there are numerous challenges involved in finding a suitable contractor at the right price. In most cases, you will either end up with a general contractor who will charge you an arm and a leg for quality work, or a less than capable contractor who will give you a budget rate. That being said, there is a middle ground between these two extremes, and it is entirely possible to find a reputable contractor who will do a satisfactory job for you at a price you can afford.
Here are some important steps in finding a good building general contractor:
Make a short list of potential general contractors to consider
Finding a good contractor is pretty much the same as finding any other type of qualified personnel. Good ways to start are by asking people you know for recommendations. If a certain general contractor has done a good job for someone you know, your friend will likely be happy to tell you about him. You can also check with building-supply stores in your town or go through the listings in online services that have a reputation for stringent criteria. It would probably be best to avoid the telephone directory listings as there will be no way for you to verify the credentials of the contractors you will come across in these listings.
Ask for each contractors' profiles and portfolio
After you have made a list of worthy building contractors, is it time to look more closely at each candidate's qualifications. At the very least, you will want to make sure that each person you consider has a general contractors license, and sufficient insurance coverage for worker's compensation, damage to property, and personal liability. You can then meet up with each contractor that conforms to your criteria and find out whether or not they can comply with the work and scheduling requirements. Now would also be a good time to ask each contractor for references from satisfied customers they have worked for in the past.
Here's a bit of advice with regard to checking the references of potential contractors: always ask to see the work that your would-be contractor has done for previous clients. It isn't enough to merely talk to the former customer on the phone, since there will be no way for you to verify whether or not the contractor you are considering has actually done any work for them. By visiting the customer's home, you will be able to inspect the contractor's work firsthand and verify that your potential contractor has in fact done a good job. Don't be too shy about asking to see their home either. Most people who have had work successfully done on their homes will be happy to show them off.
Get Quotations from different Contractors
After checking on each contractor's qualifications, you should be able to narrow your list down even further. Your next step would then be to request a quote from each of these likely candidates. While getting a good price is an important concern, you don't necessarily want to hire the contractor that offers the lowest bid. Many new general contractor companies will often offer potential clients a bid well below the normal market rate as a means to get their foot in the door, so to speak. While it is true that everyone has to start from somewhere-and this goes for commercial general contractors as well-it would probably not be a good idea to hire an inexperienced contractor for an important construction project. Let other people with money to spare be the guinea pigs for inexperienced contractors! Many contractors with a less than stellar record in the business will also offer you a lower than normal bid in order to improve their reputation in the industry. You should therefore consider factors other than the price when considering which of these building contractors you will hire for the job.
Hire the contractors that are helpful and provide only professional advices
Despite your best efforts to check on each contractor's qualifications, there will be little indication as to how well you and the contractor will get along with each other once the work has begun. After you have signed the contract and the work has begun in earnest, the last thing you want to find out is that the contractor you have hired tends to be unavailable at crucial periods or is prone to mood swings! When meeting with each general contractor therefore, you should take note of how he conducts himself, and whether or not he approaches the potential task in a professional manner. This is also a good time to find out just how committed each candidate will be to the planned project. You may want to ask if he will be working on other construction projects while yours is in progress, and how much personal time they can actually devote to the job at hand. Remember that the successful, timely and cost-effective completion of your project is greatly dependent on the skills and capabilities of the contractor, so you will want to find one that is firmly committed to your project.
SmartReno is a Malaysia based company formed by a team with more than 15 years of experience in selecting and providing construction materials.