If you're on the brink of a remodeling, large home-improvement or new construction project, you'll likely want to hire a general contractor. These professionals manage all aspects of the job to ensure it's being completed on schedule and to your satisfaction.
What is a General Contractor? General contractors are often known as project managers. They oversee the entire remodeling or construction project and facilitate all day-to-day tasks that move it towards completion. General contractors work with the architect to review plans and ensure all is in place before work is started as well as arrange for permits and necessary inspections. While a good general contractor will have the skills to handle certain tasks on site, such as carpentry, they are also responsible for hiring subcontractors for the majority of jobs, such as electrical, painting or plumbing. In addition, the general contractor should be on site regularly to inspect the progress and resolve issues.
A quality general contractor is a must for successful completion of a renovation or new construction. Because of this, it's essential to do your homework before deciding on the right general contractor for your project. Inspect bids carefully. Was it ready when the contractor promised it? Was the bid unusually high or low? Each of these things can be very telling: a late bid may reflect their timing standards, and an off-the-mark bid could be code for a pricey premium or a deliberate underbid to score the remodeling job. You should call references, and visit their completed projects to see if it's what you expect for your job. Once you do secure a general contractor, read the contract very carefully to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Questions to ask a prospective general contractor:
How long have you been in the business?
How many projects like mine have you completed?
Who will be working on the project?
What qualities do you look for in your subcontractors?
Can you provide me with references?
Are you licensed and insured?
How do you charge and what does that include?
What happens when costs exceed budget whether due to materials or labor pricing changes? What about changes made by the client or by the professionals; what kinds of situations would cause those costs to be incurred?
Can you provide me a written estimate?
What do your services include?
When can your job get done?
What happens when cost exceeds the budget?
What will I need to provide?
Are there any important considerations or concerns you foresee with this project?
Find a general contractor on Houzz. Narrow your search in the Professionals section of the website to General Contractor, then choose the metro area in which you'd like to find a contractor. You may also look through photos by style, like Traditional, Asian, Contemporary, Modern, Eclectic, Mediterranean or Tropical, to find a design you like, then contact the general contractor who worked on it.