10 Tips for Choosing a General Contractor
In honor of the new year, we would like to help you find the best contractor for your project! Here is a simple list of the 10 things we advise you to look for when choosing a contractor.
When looking for a contractor, it is important to find one that is licensed. This means that the contractor has met the state mandated qualifications for contractors. This is also important if you are looking to sell your house in the future, work done by an unlicensed contractor is not usually recognized in real estate transactions. You can find license holders on most state DLLR websites, for instance, you can find Hawaii license holders here.
2. General Liability and Workers Comp Insurance
Insurance is a major factor when it comes to choosing a contractor. Your contractor’s insurance policy protects you as the homeowner from incurring responsibility for an injury sustained on your property.
Experience is important when it comes to choosing a contractor because you want to make sure that they are able to provide you with quality workmanship. You can ask your contractor questions like how long they have been in business, how many projects they do in a month, and if they have any references for their work.
4. References and a Positive Reputation
References and a positive online reputation are a good indication that the company has done significant work and that their customers are happy with their services. Beware of a “too perfect” looking reputation though. A 100% satisfaction rate could be a red flag indicating that the reviews posted are not from actual customers. Don’t be afraid to ask for and call references, these will ease the decision-making process and make you more comfortable with the company.
5. Steady and Trained Staff and Crew
Never be afraid to ask how long a company has been in business or how long an individual has worked for the company. Lengthy tenure can show that the company has a good reputation not only with customers, but within the company as well. Training is also important you can ask questions like what licenses or special training's the company or individual has received.
6. Turnaround Time
Once you speak with a company, turnaround time is also a good indicator of what kind of company you are speaking with. If the turnaround time is too short it may indicate that the company is sacrificing quality for speed. If the estimated length of completion is wildly different from other contractors there could be an issue. During busy seasons, turn around may be a bit longer for certain projects.
Pricing is an important factor to look for, and not for the reason you might be thinking. When searching for a contractor, you do not want a contractor that has the highest or the lowest pricing. Contractors should be competitive with pricing, but if the pricing seems too good to be true, it usually is. You also want to make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” when it comes to pricing. Different manufacturers or types of materials can raise or lower costs.
8. Material Suppliers & Subcontractors
A good way to check in with a contractor would be to check with the material suppliers. If the company has a good reputation with the people they work most closely with and often (suppliers and subcontractors), then it is a good indication that it will be a good company to work with.
From the beginning of contacting your contractor, you want to make sure that they are providing good communication. Did the office get back to you in a timely manner? Did they answer all of your questions? Did they confirm the appointment? Did your consultant answer all of your questions? If the answer is “no” to several of these questions, it may be a good indicator that the company will not be able to have open communication with you during the process of your job.
Your contract will show a lot about your company. It will include most of the items listed above, it should show you their license number, answer questions about materials used, timelines, and a detailed contract can show you the experience of a company. If you have a vague or hard to understand contract, it might indicate that there are hidden fees or procedures.
When it comes to finding a #contractor, no two projects are the same, because no two people are the same. Trust is a major factor when it comes to finding the right contractor. It’s almost like you’re married for a short time until your project is complete, so it is important to find someone you are comfortable with. Never be afraid to ask as many questions as you might need to. At Pacific Precision Builders, our friendly and trained staff is available Monday through Saturday to ask any questions you might have for an upcoming project.