Hiring a General Contractor for your home renovation or new construction project can be a daunting and confusing endeavor. But armed with the proper knowledge, you can narrow your choices and make the right decision.
General Contractors vary wildy in size and function. The larger GCs are paper-only companies, which means they don't actually execute the work, but rather hire subcontractors to perform the tasks of each trade (e.g. framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.). Many smaller GCs do the framing, carpentry and some even do the finishing work and painting, but they subcontract the electrical and mechanical trades.
Most of the larger GCs don't typically contract with individual homeowners. They usually contract with real estate developers and commercial organizations to build many structures in a single contract.
Don't assume that a larger GC is going to do a better job than a small GC, however. Large GCs typically do the bare-minimum to satisfy Code requirements, where many smaller GCs are more quality-oriented.
That being said, here's a few tips to help you single out the right General Contractor for your project:
Some of these tips are not so easy to discern based on initial contact or Internet research. That's why we advise asking for references. You can ask the references if they've met the above conditions before making your choice.
Lastly, the best deal is almost never the cheapest price. Get at least three proposals from three different GCs. The best deal should be a combination of provable quality results and a good price.
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