Remodeling your home, adding a detached structure, and undergoing foundation repairs are big jobs. Unless you have a wealth of experience of your own, chances are you will rely on the expertise of general contractors in your area to help you complete these projects. While it seems like a no-brainer to call in an expert, it's important that you use the right person for the job. There is no shortage of good general contractors to choose from, but how do you weed out the good from the bad? |
Follow our four expert tips below to ensure that you're working with the right company on your project, and you will get the results you expect in the time frame you need them.
Expert Tip: Decide if you actually need to work with general contractors
If your project is small, costs less than $500, and is more of a repair than a remodel, you might be able to use a handyman (or woman) to do the job. A good rule of thumb is to determine if the work you need done will require a permit, and if that is the case, then it will require working with a contractor. If your renovation or project has any major electrical, mechanical, or plumbing needs, a permit will be required.
Expert Tip: Ask for referrals
Finding a reputable business to work with is oftentimes easiest through referrals. Area home inspectors frequently have a go-to list of general contractors they work with when a home on the market needs major repairs, and they are a great resource for referrals. Your local hardware store can also be a big help. Ask around there about which local businesses they see regularly buying quality products, as that's a great indicator of someone who does the job and does it right.
Expert Tip: Conduct a phone interview
Once you have three or four potential business referrals, give them a call. Ask about their experience with projects similar to yours to get a feel for how comfortable they will be with the scope of your home improvement. Ask about their license and when it expires, as well as the location of their business. Be wary of those who don't have a physical office and only a P.O. box. Determine their payment requirements, and avoid anyone who only accepts cash payments. Finally, make sure they carry all the necessary insurance, specifically workers' compensation and Surety bonds. This will release you from liability when they are working on your property.
Expert Tip: Collect at least three bids on your project
General contractors should ask for exactly what you want in your project, and they will likely want a floor plan of your home. Be sure that they include in their bid a detailed description of how they will execute the project from beginning to end, timelines, and pricing. In order to be able to accurately compare bids, ask that they divide up costs into the categories of materials, labor, profit, and miscellaneous expenses. While it may be tempting to choose the lowest bid, be sure to review the information thoroughly before making your choice. Someone who has much lower material costs might be using low-quality materials, and someone who has very low labor costs may be intentionally underestimating the scope of the project.
In the end, one of the best tips for choosing the expert to help with your project is to go with your gut. Your instincts will give you a nudge in the general direction, and these expert tips will help you from there. Once you've done your homework, you can be confident in your decision and get excited about your home renovation.
When looking for experienced general contractors, Sacramento, CA residents visit Mills Builders. Learn more about our services at http://www.millsbuilders.com/.
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