When building a new home or undergoing a major renovation, hiring a general building contractor is a must. In fact, working with a licensed general building contractor has many advantages. Contractors know all the local building codes and have worked with the local building inspectors before. Plus they have existing relationships with sub-contractors, such as stone masons, drywallers, HVAC, etc. Contractors also manage the day-to-day issues of the project so you don't have to.
If you aren't sure where to find a good building contractor or how to go about hiring one, start with these initial steps:
Step 1: Ask Friends, Relatives, and Neighbors for Referrals
The best place to find your future contractor is to talk to all of your friends, relatives, and trusted neighbors for referrals. Chances are good that someone in your network has either worked with a contractor recently or knows someone who has.
Step 2: Check Each Contractor's State License Status
Building contractors are required to be licensed by the state in which they operate. Once you have a list of potential contractors, go to your state's contractor licensing board website and check their status to ensure it is active.
Step 3: Meet With Multiple General Building Contractors and Ask for Bids From Those You Prefer
For each contractor with an active license, call and ask to meet about your project. It is important to meet with as many building contractors as you can because everyone is different and every project is unique. Ask those contractors you can see yourself working with to submit a bid on the project.
Keep interviewing and gathering bids until you have at least three. Two bids won't give you enough information, but with three you can better compare costs. For example, if two bids show drywall will cost $1,000 and the other bid shows it will cost $3,000, then it is safe to assume the two bids in agreement with each other are likely closer to the actual market price.
Step 4: Ask to Visit a Current or Recent Past Project
Although calling past clients can be informative, the best way to evaluate the work ethics and skills of a contractor is to ask about visiting a current project or one that was just completed. A successful general contractor will have multiple projects in various states of completion at any given time. And, reputable contractors are happy to show off their completed work and typically their satisfied customers are happy to share their experiences as well.
Contact a local general contractor to learn more.