How To Hire A General Contractor

How To Hire A General Contractor

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  1.       So, you have decided to build your dream home or add a few rooms to the home you already occupy. You know what you want, but don’t know where to begin.  The most important step you will need to take is hiring a General Contractor.  He/she is the key to making your dreams a reality, or a living nightmare.  This is the man/woman that will organize and run the project for you.  By following a few simple steps, you will be able to hire the General Contractor that is perfect person to make your dreams come to life.
         First, look around your neighborhood. Take notice of any additions that have been added to existing homes, or homes that have just been constructed.  If you see a building project that catches your eye, write down the address.  Clear a day in your schedule to go back to the places that caught your attention and speak to the homeowner.  This may seem awkward, but it is one of the best ways to find a General Contractor.  Many homeowners will be happy to give you the name and number of a General Contractor that has done a great job.  If the owners are not at home, leave a simple note of your interest, your name, phone number, and best contact times.  You will be sweetly surprise at how many will call you back.  Next ask friends, family, or co-workers if they could recommend a General Contractor .  Normally there will be two or three people in your everyday that keep a General Contractors number at hand.  
         Now that you have several names, the next thing to do is to organize yourself.  Start by creating a checklist.  On the check list write: License, Bond, Insurance, References, Portfolio, Experience, and Background Check.  This list will insure that you keep track of the paperwork each General Contractor needs to provide.  You might want to make the reference category on a separate page.  This will give you plenty of space to take notes when you make reference checks.  Write down the questions that you have regarding the project.  Don’t be afraid to ask "stupid" questions.  "Stupid" questions do not exist when it comes to your money and your home.  Make an attempt to draw what it is you have in mind (only if the General Contractor is also going to make the design blueprints.  If not, then have the design plans ready for examination).  Develop a general budget for the project.  Write down your list of needs and wants.  From your list of need and wants, choose several things that can be left out if the budget is stretched and write it on a separate list. This is a very important step that will become obvious later on.   Make folders with the names of each General Contractor you intend on interviewing.  Place copies of the lists you created earlier in each folder.  Now, that you are ready, you can begin the interviews
         Call the General Contractors.  Give them a little information as to your building project and ask if they can make an appointment to meet with you.  Allow at least a two week to a thirty day time frame for the appointment to be set.  Keep in mind that General Contractors that perform their jobs well are very busy.  Many homeowners quickly hire the first General Contractor and regret that action later.  The General Contractor will ask that you have specific things ready.  These items should already be in their folder.  Politely request that he/she bring a copy of the paper work that is mentioned on the check list.  Reputable General Contractors will not have an issue providing a perspective client with the listed items. Once a time for the meeting has been agreed upon write it on the front of the folder assigned to that contractor.  Furthermore, write it on a calendar that will visible to you every day as a reminder.
         During your interview ask the questions you have prepared in advance.  Take notes and check off the paperwork.  Get a feel for the General Contractor that is in front of you.  Do you like this person?  Do they seem capable of doing the work?  Do you think you can get along and communicate with them?  Remember, you will be working closely with this person, compatibility is a must.  Follow up by checking their paperwork.  Call their references, insurance company, license agency, and bond company to validate that all the paperwork is current.  If you like, you can call the local Better Business Agency in your area to see if any complaints have been filed against them.  If they are not listed, don’t panic.  Listing with such agencies as the BBB and home building organizations cost money, and many General Contractors do not want to pass that cost along to their clients.  After all the interviews have been completed, you should have all the information you need to hire the General Contractor that is right for you and your project.

     

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