Whether it’s for a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, basement finishing or other large home improvement project, most people are looking to hire the best general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to take a set of building plans and construct them as outlined. A general contractor often hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work.
If you have home remodeling or improvement projects on your horizon, you may be wondering how to find a reliable general contractor near me. A good general contractor will be familiar with local building practices, code requirements, and other unique factors that play into each project. Below are some tips for finding and choosing quality general contractors near me:
Know What You Want Before You Get Estimates
You don’t have to know the answers to all of these questions. But the more you know, the better you can evaluate the proposals you’ll get from contractors. You’ll also save time by answering these questions before you approach contractors.
- What will be involved? How much work is involved in your project? If you’re remodeling a bathroom, how much of it are you redoing: fixtures, tile, lighting, flooring, walls? The more specific you can be about what you want done, the easier it is for contractors to figure out how long it will take them.
- What’s your budget? Set a budget and try to stick to it. If yours is an upscale bathroom remodel, ask for bids on different levels of fixtures and finishes. This way, if your dream bathroom exceeds your budget, you’ll know what tradeoffs to make.
- How long do I have? Are there any deadlines by which this project must be completed? When do I want to start? Do I want everything done all at once or in stages? Am I willing to hire and supervise subcontractors myself or do I want a general contractor who handles everything?
Use Your Community’s Resources
Your local Chamber of Commerce may also be able to give recommendations or point you in the right direction for finding a reliable general contractor. They may even have lists of recommended contractors that they can send you or point you too online. Some real estate agents also keep lists of trusted general contractors that they give out to clients who need some extra help finding one. Local hardware stores and specialty supply stores are also good resources for finding quality general contractors, so don’t be afraid to ask them for some recommendations as well.
Ask Friends for Referrals
A great place to start looking for a reliable general contractor is referrals from friends, family and acquaintances. If anyone has worked with a licensed general contractor on a home project recently, ask them about their experience with the contractor. How did they find the contractor? Were they happy with their work? Was it on time and on budget? Would they recommend them? These are all questions you should ask when getting referrals from friends or family.
Be Realistic About Availability
Even the best contractors can be booked for months in advance if they’re good or busy. If you want to remodel your bathroom, kitchen or basement, don’t wait until spring or summer to start interviewing contractors. You may end up waiting until fall for them to fit you into their schedule. Also, consider that some contractors only work during certain seasons. For example, a concrete contractor might not be available from November through March because of bad weather.
Check the Contractor’s License
This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you will get quality work completed at a fair price. It is always best to check with your state’s licensing board to make sure that the general contractor is licensed and that there have been no complaints filed against them. You should also inquire about what kind of insurance they carry so that if someone is injured on the job, you are not liable for medical expenses.