General Contractor: Do you want to remodel your home? Or is your home in need of some repairs? Finding the right General Contractor is crucial in these matters. You want to hire someone with proven skills, and most importantly someone that you can trust. It is the contractor you choose that will make or break your remodeling project. Here are 3 useful tips to help you decide.
Do a Background Check on your General Contractor
A general contractor is a company or a person in charge of every part of a construction project. They are responsible for hiring all the tradespeople, such as plumbers, electricians and other subcontractors. Do your research on the General Contractor. Find out how long your contractor has been in business. Check their website and Google reviews. Make sure you ask for their license number and learn if they’ve had any complaints filed against them or any violations with the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation). If you live in Florida you can go to www.myfloridalicense.com to look up any contractor’s information. Ask for referrals from clients they’ve worked with in the past. It is crucial that this person has a safe history, as they will be in your home for several hours at a time.
Payment Guidelines for a General Contractor
Before any work begins, have a detailed contract. And although it depends on the work you want done, sometimes a general contractor will underestimate the costs. Then the costumer ends up with a lot of “unexpected costs” that should have been disclosed up front. Get at least three bids, don’t just go with the first general contractor you find. Use caution: If a contractor asks you for 90% of the costs up front, run! It is customary to give a deposit to start the job, however the remainder of the bill should be paid out at the end of the project. To compare bids, ask them each to break down the cost of the materials. Materials generally account for 40% of the total cost
The Type of Relationship to Have With Your Contractor
Choose someone you feel comfortable with. You will be spending plenty of time interacting with this person for months to come, so it’s in your best interest to choose someone you like. Communication is key for all projects. Set up weekly appointments and contact your general contractor through e-mail, text or calls regularly. Some questions you can ask any of your potential contractors are:
- Will you provide a detailed, itemized bid?
- Do you carry workman’s comp insurance for your employees?
- Can you provide at least three references I can contact?
- When do you expect the job to be finished?
- Do you guarantee your work? What’s the warranty?
- How long is the validity of your bid?
Never hold back from any questions, be sure you have it all settled and ready to go before making the big decision. Don’t forget to get copies of insurance, you don’t want to be held responsible for any damages or injuries during the project. Keep records, you might want to take photographs as the job progresses, or journal activities. Remember not to sign anything before going through the contract thoroughly!
About the author: Roxana Maldonado is a freelance writer and marketing intern for the Water Restoration Group in Miami, Fl. Writing is her passion and she enjoys research in order to better create articles and blog posts that educate the public. She is available for guest blogging and freelance work. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.