Finding a reputable general contractor is not an easy task. There are a lot of details that you’ll need to think about. In addition to this, the due process can be lengthy, and stressful as well. At the end of the day, the contractor that you’ll choose will determine the success of your project. With that said, there are some things that you should avoid doing when hiring a general contractor.
Below, we list the top 7 things that you shouldn’t do.
Hire the contractor with the cheapest quote
As a rule of thumb, you should get several bids or quotes for your project. But, you should go for the contractor with the cheapest bid automatically. There might be reasons why that contractor is so cheap. First, the contractor might have never handled a project like yours, or they might be using cheap materials. The contractors at general contracting company, AFS General Contracting, say that a good estimate must cover all the costs of the entire project. With this, there’s a minimal chance of hidden costs cropping up. Some contractors tend to underbid just to get the contract—and then start adding other unexpected costs in the middle of the project.
Pay all the money upfront
You should never pay a general contractor all the money for the project upfront. Yes, some contractors will ask you to pay a certain percentage as a sign of good faith that you are ready to work with them. However, this percentage shouldn’t exceed 15% of the total cost. A professional contractor should agree to receive payments as the project progresses. If you see a contractor who asks for money upfront to buy materials, it’s a serious red flag. Any reputable construction contractor should have the required resources to cover the initial costs of labor and material when starting a project.
Tell the contractor you are not in a rush
When you tell a general contractor that you don’t need the job completed quickly, they will not prioritize your job. What they’ll do is to start taking other contracts, and spend their time working on other things, and neglect your project. Therefore, you need to stress on timeliness, as well as let the contractor know about your weekly expectations in terms of the progress of the project. Ensure that you set realistic deadlines for the project.
Allow the contractor to choose the construction materials
As the client, you are responsible for choosing the type of materials that you need for your specific project. With that, you must note that there are low-end products and high-end products. Therefore, you must make yourself conversant with these materials, as well as their difference. This will allow you to choose the materials depending on the requirements of your project. Thus, you must specify the kind of materials that your contractor should use. Choosing the right, and quality materials for your project can make a big difference.
Fail to sign a contract
Always make sure that you put whatever agreement you have with your general contractor in writing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a simple agreement, or a single piece of paper—you must make the deal official, and put it in writing. Entering into an agreement with your contractor doesn’t mean that you have trust issues. Rather, it helps in ensuring that all the parties involved are on the same page, and they understand the set terms for the project. When creating your contract, make sure that it’s detailed, and it captures all your expectations.
Fail to ask your contractor questions
Never fail to ask general contractor questions or clarifications that cross your mind. Ask them about their business, the projects that they’ve completed, as well as their qualifications. If possible, request for them to give you a list of references. Besides, it’s important to enquire about the contractor’s licensing, certification, insurance coverage and whether it has contractor license bonds. When doing this, think carefully about how the contractor answers your questions. This will give you a hint about how it will be when working with that contractor.
Hire a contractor illegally
A contractor might suggest bringing someone who’s not licensed to do your project. Never agree to this! You shouldn’t hire someone who isn’t permitted to work on your project. Failing to do the due diligence when hiring a general contractor risks a big liability in case someone is hurt. Therefore, you must make sure that the contractor, as well as all their employees, are insured and licensed. Besides, they must show you a proof of their insurance policy.