3 Things to Look Out for When Choosing a General Contractor

Written by

Adam Upchurch

Created on

May 7, 2024

Choosing the right general contractor can make or break your construction project. Whether it's a residential renovation or a commercial build, the success of your project hinges on this crucial decision. So, how do you ensure you’re picking the best of the bunch? Here are three key things to look out for when choosing a general contractor:

1. Reputation and References

A contractor's reputation is a testament to their work ethic, reliability, and the quality of their work. Start by checking online reviews and ratings on platforms like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau. Don’t just look at the star rating; read the reviews to get a sense of common themes. Are clients praising their communication and attention to detail? Or are there recurring complaints about missed deadlines and budget overruns?

After your online research, ask the contractor for references. Any reputable contractor should be happy to provide contact information for past clients. When you speak to these references, ask about their overall experience, the quality of the work, and how any issues were handled. Were they satisfied with the final result? Would they hire the contractor again? Real feedback from real people can give you invaluable insights.

2. Licensing and Insurance

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people overlook it. Ensuring your contractor is properly licensed and insured protects you from potential headaches down the line. Licensing requirements vary by state and municipality, so make sure your contractor holds the necessary licenses for your area. This not only demonstrates their legitimacy but also ensures they’re up-to-date with the latest building codes and regulations.

Insurance is equally important. A contractor should carry both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. General liability protects your property in case of damage during the project, while workers' compensation covers injuries to workers on your site. Without these insurances, you could be held liable for accidents or damages, turning your dream project into a legal nightmare.

3. Clear Communication and Transparency

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful project. From the initial consultation to the final walkthrough, your contractor should be open, transparent, and responsive. Pay attention to how they communicate from the get-go. Are they prompt in answering your calls and emails? Do they listen to your needs and concerns? A contractor who values clear communication will keep you informed about the project’s progress, potential issues, and any changes in the timeline or budget.

Transparency goes hand-in-hand with communication. A trustworthy contractor will provide a detailed estimate that breaks down the costs of materials, labor, and any other expenses. They should also be upfront about potential additional costs and how they will be handled. Avoid contractors who give vague estimates or who are reluctant to discuss potential extra charges. Clear, honest communication ensures there are no surprises, and you can trust that your contractor is working in your best interest.

Choosing the right general contractor is crucial for the success of your construction project. By paying attention to their reputation, ensuring they are properly licensed and insured, and valuing clear communication, you can set the foundation for a smooth, successful build. Do your homework, ask the right questions, and don’t be afraid to trust your gut. After all, your project deserves nothing but the best.

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