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Learn How To Hire A General Contractor

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Life is full of decisions – If your are planning to build a custom home, your decision making skills will need to be improved dramatically. One of the most important decisions will be: who will build my future quality home?.

The first step is to have an idea about the scope of the project. For instance, you will need to know the size of your proposed custom home, how many rooms, how many baths, etc. If you have a copy of the floor plans, it will be easier for the custom home builder to give an accurate bid. Note: These guidelines also apply for house remodeling jobs.

The process of selecting a general contractor to build your custom home will require several meetings to exchange information:

At this point you are probably wandering, where do I find good licensed General Contractors?. There are several reliable sources:

  • Start with the web. You can find anything on the internet, as long as you use the right keywords. In this instance, you might want to try the following keywords in your favorite search engine: “licensed general contractor” + “state where you live”.
  • Better Business Bureau. Your local Better Business Bureau will provide a list of Homes builder that meet your criteria.
  • The local home builder association can provide with members that will meet your needs.
  • Visit the construction sites and try to get the names of the builders.

First Meeting:

Before the first meeting, you will need communicate with the home builder and request him/her to bring proof of his/her documentation:

  1. Current General Contractors License.
  2. Current Liability Insurance.
  3. Current work comp insurance, if the builder has his own employees.
  4. The home builder must be a member of the local builder association or a member of the Better Business Bureau
  5. Make sure that the General Contractor has a permanent address and not a P.O. Box.
  6. Review pictures of his work portfolio.
  7. Ask your potential builder if he will get all the necessary permits. If he ask you to do it as a home owner, He is not the home builder you want. He might have a problem with his license.
  8. Ask your builder to supply you with references of his previous jobs.

If your potential candidate breezes through your interview, it will be time to go over your project.

    • You, the homeowner, needs to be able to visualize the every room and corner in the house to be able to explain your special needs to the home builder.
    • If you have floor plans available, provide a copy of the floor plan. It will be easier for the General Contractor to provide a more accurate estimate on your project.
    • Request a detailed bid on your project with separate material and labor components. In this way, you will be able to compare different bids.
    • Ask for the warranty in writing

    Bids:
    Before selecting your contractor, you will need at least 3 proposals. All the agreements and verbal promises should be put in writing to protect all parties involved on your project.

    The contract:

    In addition to the start and end dates of the project, the contract needs to have a detailed description of all the work to be performed. It also needs to include the total cost of the project and a schedule of the payment to the General Contractor.

    Some additional items to include are:

    • Daily clean up around the work site and final clean up.
    • A binding arbitration clause in case of disagreements.

    One final word. Before signing any contract make sure you understand all the components. It is your home. You have a right to ask questions and explanations. Do not make your decision on price alone; reliability, quality of work , and on time performance are also important.

    Remember that the Contractor you select will end up knowing you better than your doctor. You and your family will see the contactor during the project every day. The relationship between the home builder and the client is crucial for the success of the project.