In many of my past blogs, I have spoken about choosing the right contractor. I have gotten a few questions of how and why that is so important. In this post, I will discuss that how and why. Choosing the right contractor is important because it can make or break your construction project. During your selection process, you want to make sure you are working with someone who has your needs in mind and shares your same vision for the project. Not following this guideline will lead to many frustrating days of asking “why did they do this?” or “that is not what I was expecting”. Believe me, as a contractor, these are two comments I hate to hear.
Communication is key. Make sure that you can talk openly with your contractor and that they can be approached with all of your concerns. If you bring up a problem on site, you don’t want to worry that that he will make you feel as if you are the problem, not his crew or the job site. Problems will occur on a construction site, and I have yet to look back on a project and say that it was completely flawless. There will always be something that can be done better. What you want to be concerned with is how your contractor handles those problems. He should address them and work with you to correct the issues, not tell you, “that’s just is how it is”. Not all issues can be fixed, but hopefully the lines of communication will be open enough that you come out feeling good about whatever resolution you come up with.
Now that I have discussed the “why”, how do you select that contractor that is right for you? Here are a few items to look for when choosing a good contractor.
First, make sure that the contractor is licensed. There are a lot of guys out there who just own a set of tools and a pickup truck that say they are a contractor, but that doesn’t make it so. In addition to your General Contractor being licensed, you should make sure that his subcontractors are properly licensed as well. Make sure your contractor carries full insurance for their company. You hope it never comes into play, but it is a good safety net. The insurance should cover both general liability and workman’s compensation.
Next, check to see if your contractor is a member of any organizations such as NARI or NAHB. This shows a commitment toward their craft. Ask them about their process. Basically, this will tell you how they approach each project. A good contractor will have a set of procedures that will help guide the project and avoid those humps in the process.
Also, be sure to ask who is in charge on the project. Will you see a sales person and then have a different person in charge each day? Or, will they use a project manager? Make sure that they have somebody for you to work with who is very involved with your project.
Finally, check references. Contractors can tell you they are great until they are blue in the face, but the past projects don’t lie. Contact their references and ask specific questions that would apply to your project. The feedback will be worth its weight in gold.