Choosing a General Contractor 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

If you’re preparing for a home renovation, then there are many things that need to be considered, which will ensure your project is the best it can be. One important part of making this process run smoothly is hiring a general contractor. While some renovations may not require a contractor’s services, most larger projects do. If you don’t want to spend too much time stressing about who to hire or trying to manage multiple tradespeople on your own, you should strongly consider going with a contractor for this job.

Thinking through all of the necessary steps before hiring a contractor can save you both time and money in the long term. In addition to thinking about finding the right person for the job, you also have to think about how that person will be paid. This is why it is necessary to have a good understanding of the process for hiring a contractor before you start your renovation project.

While every situation varies, there are some important basics that all homeowners should consider as they go through the process of choosing a general contractor. Whether you hire this person directly or have someone help you find the best candidate for the job, these basics will be helpful in making sure your home renovation goes as smoothly as possible from start to finish.


What To Look For In A General Contractor

You may not want to deal with finding and managing tradespeople yourself, so there’s nothing wrong with hiring a general contractor to manage this part of your project. Keep in mind though that in addition to hiring a person or company, you may also have to hire the subcontractors they require.

Be sure to consider all of your options before making your final decision about who will manage your home renovation project. Even if you have already chosen a contractor, learning about some of their subcontractors can be helpful so that you can choose one that goes well with the rest of your team. This will minimize any potential conflicts down the road.


Types Of Contractor And Subcontractor Relationships

 Direct Hire Vs General Contracting Company

As its name suggests, hiring someone directly as a general contractor means that this is an individual you are contracting for on an hourly basis. You can also go through a general contracting company if you prefer. This is an organization that will find the contractors for your project and manage everything for you, so you don’t have to deal with it yourself.

Pros And Cons Of Each Type Of Relationship

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you hire a contractor directly when possible because this allows them to work most closely with their subs on your behalf. If your goal is to delegate the responsibilities of hiring subcontractors, then hiring through a general contracting company is often the way to go. Not only does this provide you with more time, but also helps avoid many potential problems by delegating decision-making power to someone else.

What To Keep In Mind As You Go Through The Process

Be sure to implement these tips as you go through the process of choosing a general contractor for your home renovation project.


Six Tips For Hiring The Right General Contractor To Manage Your Project

1.) Narrow Down The Candidates

Most contractors have their own subs, so it’s important to find one that works well with those who will be doing much of the work on your project. Look at each candidate and consider if they tend to work well with other subcontractors. This should ultimately help streamline your entire renovation process and make it run as smoothly as possible.

2.) Do Your Due Diligence And Ask Lots Of Questions

It’s essential that you make sure you know what you’re getting into before selecting a contractor for your home renovation project. You’ll need to know each candidate’s experience, how they plan to complete the job, and whether they have any references. Most importantly though, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the person you are considering hiring so that you are not uncomfortable during this process or afterwards if things go south.

3.) Stay Organized And Set Expectations

It can be easy to lose track of all the moving pieces on a renovation project, but having an organized system in place will help with everything from managing costs to completing timelines. Every piece of information should be documented with dates and times so that changes come with proper notification which allows for enough time to adapt accordingly.

4.) Get Everything In Writing

This is absolutely essential to ensure that both parties are on the same page as far as decisions and responsibilities go throughout the renovation process. If there is a discrepancy later on, you will have proof of what was agreed upon. It’s human nature to remember things differently over time so having this paperwork will help keep everything running smoothly without a lot of assumptions or mistrust between team members.

5.) Know What To Expect After The Project Is Over

Although it may be hard after your long-awaited dream home renovations are complete, it’s important for you to not get too involved with the day-to-day work being done on the job sites. Some contractors will want you to come by and check on the progress every few days, but allow them to do their job without obsessing over it. You will still be able to provide feedback or ask any questions that may come up without becoming a nuisance.

6.) Be Ready To Walk Away At Any Time

The project is your responsibility. If you feel like something is wrong with the contractor’s performance, then you have every right to walk away from the project and find someone else. Make sure you know who you would hire instead of staying with a less than satisfactory team so that this doesn’t become an issue. This also means being prepared for change if things don’t go as planned or budgeted along the way so that you can deal with any problems head-on.

By following these six tips, you’ll have a much better chance of selecting the right contractor for your home renovation project. Make sure to go through all of your options carefully and decide what’s best for your unique renovation needs. Know that it will be a major financial investment so choosing the right team is essential to having a successful final product on your end.


Are You Looking for a General Contractor You Can Trust?

If you’re considering a whole house, kitchen or bathroom remodel, New Key Construction, based in Walnut Creek California, is here to serve you. Our passion is to be the home for talented craftsmen who deliver beautiful projects to clients throughout the SF East Bay Area! Choosing the right general contractor for your project can be difficult, but we make things easy by focusing on Your Experience, Client Communication, Cutting Edge Technology and Pushing Our Design and Build Limits!  If we could have one goal, it would be that when someone you know is looking for a contractor you highly recommend our company because of the experience we deliver for you! Check out our website, our portfolio and our reviews to learn more – or give us a call today.

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