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FIVE Things to keep in mind before hiring a general contractor

Saturday, May 25, 2019

By Satya Vyas
CEO & Co-Founder, Tornado

Know what you want
As the consumer, you are the driving force behind the project. It is important to know what you want precisely before you go on to hire a general contractor.  Have an idea in mind as to what the end project would be like, the amenities it would have, its colour scheme, size, etc. If you have difficulty in picturing, take help from a Design-Build firm which can help you with the services they offer.

Get quotes from several contractors
Getting a minimum of three quotes is considered good but getting a few more, around half a dozen will certainly not do harm. It will help get a clear idea. By comparing all the quotes, you will see how all of these contractors compare to each other, the differences in pricing, differences in quality of material and work, etc. Depending upon your budget, priorities and time constraints, you can go ahead and choose the contractor who will be the most suitable for your needs.

Do background and other researches
It is important to set a minimum bar of credentials even if a friend or family member has referred to a certain general contractor. It is necessary to check if the person or the firm has a valid license and permission documentation to carry out the work.

After background researches, it is also good to see the contractors previous work and try to resonate with it. It will give you an idea about the craftsmanship expertise of the contractor. If possible, try contacting previous customers to know about their experiences with the contractor. Also, pay careful attention to small indicators of professionalism like promptness in replying to phone calls or emails, whether meeting times are kept, etc.

Be clear about additional charges
Set grounds on how much you are willing to spend as per your budget and ask for an accurate cost. With advancements in technology, getting a precise approximate cost has become rather simple. However, the amount of work to be completed can be unpredictable at times and there can be chances that additional work comes up and the final cost ends up being a lot more than the projected approximate cost. It’s important for your contractor to assure that he won’t spend a rupee over your agreed-upon budget without consulting you and taking your prior approval. Specifying this in your contract is of utmost importance.

Be aware of the contract details
It is always good to establish boundaries at the beginning itself. You should be clear about bathroom uses, time limits, working hours, progress reports or briefings and the expected times you meet the contractor. It’s also good to ask how tools and materials will be stored if the work is scheduled to go on for multiple days. Make sure the contract includes proper start and completion dates and also information on building permit. Another issue you need to take care of is, if the job site is within city limits and in residential areas, whether the level of noise is within permissible limits and how it can be solved. Pragmatic solutions should be thought of if there is a case of default by any party.

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