If you’re in the market for a general contractor but aren’t sure how to choose a good one, read on to learn what you should look for.
“Good general contractors are always happy to answer questions.”
What Makes a Good General Contractor?
There are several things you should look for when speaking with a potential general contractor.
- Willingness to talk about insurance
- Long time in business
- Willingness to show off their gallery
- A working knowledge about permits and inspections
- Belongs to building organizations
- Willingness to use a contract
- happy to answer questions
All contractors should have general and liability insurance and a willingness to show you their insurance certificate as proof.
If you ask about it and they seem hesitant or start giving excuses why they can’t show you proof, don’t hire them.
A good general contractor knows that insurance is important and they’ll be more than happy to show their insurance certificate.
Plus, they’ll want coverage just as much as you do in case something happens during your building project.
Long Time in Business
When looking for a general contractor you’ll want someone who’s been in business a while. A lot of new startups, even if they’re comprised of experienced contractors, go through many growing pains. There are a lot of processes they need to iron out before they can work as smoothly as they want, so be sure to go with a general contractor who’s been in business many years.
Another bonus to this is that you’re more likely to find someone who’s reliable and capable. They wouldn’t be in business long if they weren’t or did terrible work. Play it safe and only consider contractors who’ve been in business for five years or more.
Willingness to Show off Their Gallery
Their gallery doesn’t need to be like the Louvre, but they should have an online space to show off their work. Good general contractors take pride in the work they do and would be more than willing to show off their best projects. So if you come across a general contractor who’s hesitant to show you their previous work, or has none to show you, cross them off your list.
You want a contractor who not only has a solid gallery of completed projects but is also happy to talk about them. You also want a contractor who has a gallery of projects like the one you’re considering. That way, you can get a real sense of what your potential general contractor can do.
A Working Knowledge of Permits and Inspections
A good general contractor should have a working knowledge of permits and inspections. Not all projects need these, and a general contractor should- after looking at your project plans of course- know what your project needs. Avoid any contractors who won’t answer questions about this or tell you they’ll figure it all out later. They need to have a good sense of it before they start work. If they don’t, move on.
The bonus of having a permit knowledgeable contractor is that they will know if you need them and will be happy to get them for you from the permit office. Instead of waiting in line or filling out forms, you can have their general contractor tackle that for you so you can focus on the more important aspects of your business.
Belongs to Building Organizations
There are several building organizations a good general contractor might belong to, such as:
- Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)
- Texas Association of Builders (TAB)
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
Now, a good general contractor doesn’t need to belong to all of these, but it’s a good idea to work with one who belongs to at least one or two. Belonging to organizations like these can provide many benefits such as discounts on materials for projects and continued education so contractors can continue to improve their skills.
Willingness to Use a Contract
Thia is a huge must-have. If the general contractor you’re interviewing doesn’t use contracts or insists you don’t need one for your project, end the interview. Don’t think twice about it! Contracts are the backbone of your agreement. It will detail everything about your project, such as:
- Start dates
- Expected completion date
- Materials and tools
- Payment schedules
- Project budget
- How you’ll handle disagreements and surprise changes
“What if my project is a small one?”
It doesn’t matter if your project can be completed in a single day or several months – you still need a contract. It stops contractors from dragging out projects, overcharging you, and using cheaper materials to make themselves a buck.
A good contractor will not only use a contract; they’ll also be happy to have one because they know contracts protect both you and them.
Happy to Answer Questions
The most interesting thing about a good general contractor is that they’re happy to answer questions. In fact, they like it when potential clients come with questions in hand. It means the client is serious about the project and ready to hire a qualified general contractor. So if the general contractor you’re interviewing doesn’t like to answer too many questions, or hesitates to answer them, don’t hire them.
A good general contractor knows that asking questions is the only way for clients and contractors to see if they’re a good fit.
Hire Everhart Construction as Your General Contractor Today!
Everhart Construction employs design consultants and not just order takers. When a design consultant arrives at your home or office they’ll discuss your project in length to get a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve with your office remodel. Our general contractors give good advice on what’s best and help you get the office you’ve always wanted. If you’re considering an office buildout, remodel, or fix your home, call 713-461-4434 or click below to get started today!