How to Choose the Right General Contractor for Your Project

April 17th, 2019 |

Many factors come into play when searching for a general contractor to build your commercial property or complete a building project. Whether renovating or starting from the ground up, construction is a complicated process. It takes a considerable amount of hard work and time to transform an idea for a building into reality. It is a combination of planning, engineering, hard work, paperwork, expertise, and ‘know how.’

General contractors provide an important service for most medium and large scale construction work. Sometimes referred to as the building contractor or builder, the general contractor enters into a contract with the owner or developer of a site to complete the building project for a fixed or negotiated price. Once an agreement has been reached, the general contractor assumes full responsibility for the project until the job is completed. The general contractor will coordinate subcontracting, hiring necessary people in trades that require a degree of expertise, the purchase and delivery of material, acquiring the correct building permits, and so forth.

It is because of these responsibilities that choosing the right contractor is of the utmost importance. It should not be left to chance. More than just cost, the entire success or failure of your building project will depend on it. Skill and integrity should be your top goal when hiring a general contractor. It is essential to find someone with a solid reputation that you trust, can communicate with, and have a degree of comfort or rapport with. The best way to find that person is a combination of networking and seeking references if you want positive results.

Consult Previous Customers

Contacting former clients and customers provides first-hand insights into how the contractor worked out. Does the contractor have the right licenses? Was the project completed on time, and to the specifications? Did the contractor fulfill expectations?

Visit past job sites to get a feel for the contractor’s work. Visit current job sites to see for yourself how a work in progress is being managed. View what’s going on first then speak with current clients, subcontractors, and people in the trades to get a feel for how the contractor works with his clients and operates with his team.

Review Cost Estimates

Estimates are another important part of the process of choosing the right contractor. The full scope of any project, large or small, needs to be presented and laid out for the contractor to provide a reasonable breakdown of material costs, labor, timeframe, legal costs, profit margins, overhead, and other various expenses. You may find half a dozen general contractors to do the job, all with solid references. From them, choose three to provide you estimates.

Trust Your Gut

Weigh your decision carefully. Sometimes high costs may deter you initially, but rather than look for the lowest bid, look for the bid that will work best for you and your goals. You won’t regret spending the extra money on the right person. In the wrong hands, savings on low bids can disappear as the job progresses. You will most likely get better results from general contractors that present a fixed price (sometimes called a hard bid) rather than negotiating a price to complete the job as presented. A fixed price agreement imparts a degree of experience that the contractor knows the full scope of what it will take to complete the job on time and on budget.

Contractual Clarity is Key

Finally, leave nothing to chance or misinterpretation. Your contract agreement between you and the general contractor should be detailed and indicate exactly what will be done, expectations, deadlines, payment schedule, exact materials, and who will be providing them. People cannot read minds. If the agreement is spelled out and discussed in detail before the contract is signed, there can be no misinterpretation as the project moves forward and work is underway.

TDP Construction offers extensive experience in General Contracting and value engineering. We take great pride in our ability to provide our clients with a high-quality project at the best possible cost. Contact our team today to learn more!