Construction projects take a lot of time, effort and coordination. A general contractor won’t do much physical work on-site, but he or she is integral to making a construction project go smoothly and keep on schedule. Here’s how to find and hire a general contractor.
1. Plan First
Every construction project is different, but it’s important to have someone be the point person and lead the project. This person is usually a general contractor. Also called a prime or direct contractor, this person oversees the construction site and the work. He or she acts as a go-between for you and your site.
Planning your project is a must before considering a contractor. With this, you’ll know what you need and have an easier time choosing a contractor. And your project outline will be ready for the contractor to review immediately.
2. Be Aware of Scams
Before you start looking for a contractor to work with, you need to make yourself aware of scams. Some signs of a scam are obvious upfront, like a lack of business contact information or the contractor contacting you first. Others may be more subtle or may occur later in the process. These are things like offering lifetime warranties or pressuring you to make decisions.
These scams are usually a way to get people to agree to high fees and interest rates. Always do your research before agreeing to rates. Always read documents carefully before signing. And if you’re unsure of anything, you can always contact an attorney, someone else who works in the field or someone else you trust to help you.
3. Research Contractors
Keep in mind several key factors when researching contractors. First, review the contractor’s previous work to see if it can align with your project. Then you can make sure your list of contractors all have the appropriate qualifications and insurance and check online reviews. Finally, contact the contractors you listed and interview them. Ask about previous work and specific questions about your project to select the best match.
4. Get Estimates and Payment Options
Estimates help narrow down your contractor choices too. Have all your materials and pricing plans prepared for the contractors you interview and see what they say. Ask questions about why a contractor has made a certain estimate and don’t just settle for the lowest bidder. When it comes to payment options, try to keep your down payment low. You should also try to tie payment installments to work completed rather than a time-based schedule. This way, if work is delayed so are payments.
5. Draw up a Contract
Once you have your contractor and you’ve agreed on a payment plan, it’s time to sign a contract. Always get the contract in writing, even if that isn’t required by your state. Negotiate the project timeline and include a list of materials, contact information, what the contractor will and won’t do and obligations. It’s also a good idea include any verbal promises made previously as well as information on any warranties.
Once you find the right contractor, your construction project should be smooth sailing.