The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a General Contractor

If you are like most people, this is the first time you’ve ever needed to hire a general contractor for any reason. Maybe you need help with renovations or building an addition on your house. Or perhaps the roof needs fixing after an ice storm damaged it six months ago and you haven’t had time to get around to finding someone to fix it yet. No matter what project you’re starting, hiring a general contractor is the best way to go about getting one done quickly and safely.


 The following steps should help guide you through the process of hiring your first general contracting firm:

 1.  Get recommendations from friends, family members or co-workers who have had renovation work done recently so that they can offer you a few names of general contracting firms they might have worked with.

2. Contact the references and ask them how satisfied they were with the work that was done as well as how much it cost to get the project done. Also, ask if anything unexpected happened or if any changes had to be made during the course of the work being done.

3. Once you have found a number of potential candidates from those referrals, check online for other contractors in your area that could handle your particular job. The first place to look would be Angie’s List . You can also search for local chamber of commerce websites where you’ll find a list of members who should include general contractors in their directory listings. If you’re still having trouble finding the right general contractor for your project, talk to friends and family members who might know someone they would recommend.

4. Find out if the general contracting firms you are interested in will be able to pull permits or inspections for your particular job. If they can’t, you’re going to have to find another firm that will be able to do these things for you since most local building authorities won’t let anyone work on a project without proper permitting.

5.  See how long the general contracting firm has been in business by checking their website or calling them up. You’ll want them to have at least 3-5 years of experience so that they should be able to handle even complex renovations without any problems.

6. Check the general contracting firm’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating to see what other customers think of their services. There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to hiring a general contractor, but you should make it a point to hire someone with whom you feel comfortable working for the next few months. Good luck!


Quick Facts About General Contractors


1) There is no cost for a new business owner to hire a general contractor; however, it’s important for anyone considering this option to make sure the contractor has insurance in case something goes wrong.

2)  General contractors do not need any licenses or certification, but if their company provides construction services, then they must acquire an appropriate permit . This permit ensures that all standards set by local and federal laws will be met and that the work performed is up to code.

3)  A general contractor can specialize in one or more types of business. For example, a general contractor may only want to handle landscaping while another does roofing, flooring, etc…

4) General contractors typically receive payment but not until their customers are satisfied with the job . Most businesses will pay after 30 days or so through either check or electronic funds transfer (EFT).

5) The average hourly rate for a general contractor is $35-$75 per hour depending on what services they provide . It’s important to note that this number is an average since most charge per project rather than by the hour.

6) General contractors typically have a portfolio that customers can look at with examples of their work, pictures from previous jobs and testimonials from other customers .

7) Like with any business, it’s important for a general contractor to advertise in order to attract new customers. Some advertising methods include billboards, flyers or pamphlets, internet ads and radio commercials.

8)The turnover rate for individuals working as general contractors is higher than the national average; however, this may be due to the fact that some occupations within this industry do not offer benefits like health insurance.

9) Most general contractors require payment after 30 days and expect wealthy clients to pay faster (3-5 days). It’s important for businesses to keep this in mind when choosing a contractor, as they may end up waiting awhile before getting paid after the job is finished.

10) In addition to general contractors, there are many other types of businesses that provide professional services. For example, an estimator works with materials and equipment needed for construction projects and helps determine cost estimates for those projects. Estimators typically have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and often acquire postsecondary training through academic programs or on-the-job training .


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.