What To Know When Choosing Your General Contractor

Renovation is exciting … especially once it’s over, as anyone who’s been through it will tell you. However – the weight of hiring the perfect contractor to oversee and manage all of the work for your home, office, restaurant or hotel construction project can be daunting.

A significant building project can cost a bundle and entail hiring and coordinating multiple specialized tradespeople over the course of weeks or months. In other words, it’s a whole different ball game than simply hiring a plumber or electrician to update a few things.

So here are three things you should know when choosing a general contractor for you and your next building project. What is a general contractor? Do you really need one? How do you choose and work with one? Read on.

Step 1: Understand the role

What exactly do general contractors do? We organize and oversee your project as a whole. Some of a general contractor’s duties include:

  • Estimate the entire project
  • Negotiate with, hire, coordinate, and supervise subcontractors
  • Establish a payment schedule and disburse the money
  • Obtain permits
  • Review plans and root out potential problems
  • Order materials and schedule deliveries
  • Troubleshoot
  • Schedule inspections
  • Ensure that everything is up to code
  • Guide the job to completion at the quoted price

Step 2: Should you DIY?

The main reason most people decide to be their own general contractor is to save money. But if you’re not good at it, the project might not turn out as you envisioned, and you might spend more money fixing your new (and costly) problems.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. How big is the project? You’ll likely be in over your head on a large addition. A modest interior remodel is more doable.
  2. Do you have the time? Are you available throughout the day to run home when necessary? Are you available by phone most of the time?
  3. Are you a quick study? Contractors bring years of experience to a job. You’ll need to get up to speed fast as issues and decisions arise.
  4. Are you a great organizer and manager? A renovation can involve a lot of moving parts, dependencies, subcontractors, and suppliers.
  5. Are you prepared for the responsibility? If something goes wrong (more likely when you lack construction experience), it’s all yours to solve.
  6. Are you prepared to cover the financial risks? Depending on the project and how you finance it, you might need an insurance binder (temporary evidence of insurance).
  7. Are you ready to be responsible for subcontractors? You might need to buy extra liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

If you answered no to any of these questions, lets proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Choosing your contractor

Your choice of contractor is one of the most important renovation decisions you’ll make. Much more important than quartz vs. granite countertops, you’re going to be trusting this person with your home or place of business and your money.

  • Talk to previous clients. We’ll gladly send you a list of clients we’ve worked with for you to ask every question you have…
    • How did the job go? Any problems? Cost overruns or delays?
    • How was the work quality?
    • Did the contractor listen well, explain things well, and return calls quickly?
    • Did they take care of any problems that cropped up after the job was complete?
  • Talk to the team. Lets set up an interview for you to ask us all of your questions…
    • How many jobs like yours have we done?
    • What’s the average square-foot cost for a job like yours?
    • Are we experienced with any special requirements or materials you have in mind?
    • How will we keep things clean and safe while we work?

Licensed, Insured and Years of Experience

With years of experience in the construction industry, Riken Construction would be honored to sit down with you and hear all about your project. For a free estimate on your next project, contact our team today. We look forward to turning your dreams into reality. 321-363-4904