How To Find The Right General Contractors

How To Find The Right General Contractors

The toughest part about building and renovating a home is not finding funds or selecting the best materials. It’s looking for the right general contractor.

If you manage to find a perfect expert, the job is half done. Unfortunately, the process isn’t easy. You’ve probably heard stories about unexpected expenses, botched deadlines, abandoned projects, and much more.

If you don’t want them to happen to you, it’s vital to invest time and effort into selecting the right general contractor. In this article, you’ll learn how to do it the smart way.

1. Know What You Want

Before you start looking for contractors, you need to figure out what you want from them. What project are you planning? What is your budget? When do you want to start and finish each task? Have a plan and a few ideas. This can simplify your interviews and negotiations.

By knowing what you want, you can avoid unnecessary meetings and conversations with potential contractors. In many cases, your requirements can help narrow down the list of candidates substantially.


2. Ask Around

The best way to form the right opinion about the contractor is to hear “live” reviews. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers. Some of them may have done the research for you already.

However, even if the contractor comes highly recommended by someone you know well, it doesn’t mean your search is over. You still have to check credentials, review the portfolio, and run a few other checks to make the final decision.

Personal recommendations can narrow down your list quickly. So don’t hesitate to ask for information on local forums or messenger groups.

3. Check Out Online Reviews

While online reviews aren’t as useful as the feedback you get from people you know, they still need to be considered. Make sure to check such resources as Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List. These reviews should help you make the final decision but don’t turn them into the key deciding factor.

Remember, reviews are always personal. What one person may dislike could be something you don’t mind at all. However, when it comes to the general contractor selection, it’s better to avoid companies with more than 10% negative reviews.

4. Set up Interviews

While you can find sufficient information about the company online or by speaking to past clients, a face-to-face interview is important as well. Make sure to talk to at least three contractors before making the final decision.

A personal interview can help you discover many interesting things about the candidates, starting from their expertise and ending with the gut feeling you get about the collaboration.

During each of the interviews, consider negotiating the price. With other candidates waiting to be met, you have leverage.

5. Talk about Subcontractors

When you are planning to hire a contractor, be ready for some of the work to be delegated to subcontractors. When interviewing a candidate, ask which work is expected to be outsourced to subcontracting companies.

These questions can help you figure out whether the contractor has sufficient teams to deal with your project. According to Florida contractors, if the company is planning to delegate the majority of work to others, it should raise a red flag.

When choosing the ideal candidate, consider selecting a company that doesn’t outsource or works with a limited number of subcontractors.

6. Pay Special Attention to the Contract

The contract you sign with a general contractor has to be highly detailed. It must include the set of services, plan, deadline, cost, progress payments, list of materials used (down to the model number) and who is responsible for providing which materials.

Unless you have a detailed contract, you should be ready for all types of surprises along the way. Unpleasant surprises are especially common when it comes to extra expenses. Make sure the chances of unexpected expenses are cut to a minimum.

If anything changes during the project, such as your requirements or prices on materials, all of it should be documented in an amendment to the contract.

7. Ask About Upfront Payments

When you speak to the contractors for the first time, ask about upfront payments. Never agree to pay more than about 10% of the final cost before the job starts. Large amounts could be used by contractors to finish their previous projects. In such a case, chances of extra expenses and fraud are high.

A contractor may ask for larger upfront payments when dealing with highly expensive materials, which are needed quickly. However, all of the above should always be documented in the contract.

8. Negotiate Basic Rules

Before signing the contract, you need to negotiate such basic rules as work hours. You don’t want the work to be done during the night if there are neighbors, who may complain.

You should also talk about cleaning. Who will clean out the construction debris after the work is over? You don’t want to be stuck with loads of hard-to-remove garbage in your home.

Also, talk about using the facilities. If the workers use your bathroom and kitchen, will they clean up after themselves? Consider including all of such rules into the contract.

9. Check Licenses

All general contractors should be properly licensed. Check if the contractor you are about to choose has all the licenses and certifications needed to work in your state or municipality. The company should be straightforward about its licenses. Many of them have the information available on the website. Ask the contractor to see a copy of all the necessary documents.


Use your gut feeling. With all things being equal, your intuition should help you make the final choice between several contractors. Remember, you’ll have to work with these people side by side for a long time. Make sure you feel comfortable around them.



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