Top tips for picking a general contractor

When it comes to renovations, few decisions are more important than hiring the right general contractor. After all, you will be relying on their knowledge and experience to transform your home. Knowing what to look for in a general contractor makes the hiring process easier and less stressful. They should be experienced, friendly, and transparent about pricing.

Here are some top tips for hiring a general contractor.

1. Get recommendations

There’s no substitute for a good referral. All in all, word-of-mouth is the most reliable way to find a general contractor. You can get a firsthand review of their customer service, professionalism, and workmanship. Additionally, you might be able to see the quality of their past work with your own eyes.

2. Check their references

A good contractor will be able to provide references from prior customers. Ask to have the contact information from the three most recent jobs they’ve completed. That way, they cannot pick and choose their best jobs or references. You’ll get a more accurate idea about their work and what it is like to work with them.

3. Ask about their experience

Although most general contractors have a diverse skill set, it’s not uncommon to specialize in a particular area. This is essential information to have before hiring. A general contractor who focuses on exteriors may not be the best choice for your kitchen renovation. To ensure you hire the right person for the job, ask about their past experience and specialties.

4. Set up a meeting

Your general contractor will be in your home for the duration of your renovation, and there will be a lot of back and forth communication. Therefore, it’s best if you two get along. Meeting in person allows you to gauge this and see what kind of person they are. It’s crucial that you feel comfortable communicating with your contractor—and that they listen. 

5. Get a written estimate

Before making your final hiring decision, ask your general contractor for a written estimate. This estimate should be detailed and transparent. It helps set expectations and explains where your hard-earned money will be going. You can also compare estimates from different contractors. However, remember that lowball offers are never as good as they sound. If one bid is significantly less than the rest, that contractor is likely cutting corners or inexperienced.

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