When choosing a general contractor to build a new home or remodel an existing one, there are many factors you should consider. It can be a hard decision to make so we’ve put together some tips for choosing a contractor to make it easier.
Our tips are based on more than 20 years in the construction and real estate industry in Southwest Florida. We have heard so many stories of projects that have gone wrong and we’ve been called in to fix someone else’s work.
Here are a few tips for choosing a contractor that might save you time and money as well as help you avoid unnecessary stress.
Tips for choosing a contractor
- Check references. If no one you know has had any experience with the company, ask for references and contact them. Read reviews on Google, Facebook and other places. Go to the company’s website. Learn about the business, how long they’ve been in business, their experience, and who operates it. Go through the galleries of their work.
- Ask to see a copy of their license. Make sure the company is licensed to do work where the property is located. There are a variety of places to search Florida Contractor Licenses such as the state licensing portal.
- Look for any complaints against the company. Search the Better Business Bureau as well as local court records to make sure no one has filed a complaint against the company.
- Ask for proof of insurance. Make sure the general contractor is insured as well as licensed.
- Understand the estimate. Make sure you get a detailed estimate and that you fully understand what is included in that estimate.
- Understand the contract. What does the project include and how much will it cost? Find out how they handle changes and problems that arise during the project. It is important to understand the scope of the project. If they want a large down payment before work begins, that could be a red flag.
- Discuss permits. Make sure the company is pulling the proper permits. If the company asks you to pull permits, that’s probably not the company for you.
- Establish good communication. Discuss the best way to reach you and how often you will get project updates. Provide more than one contact method.
- Know the work schedule. Find out when they intend to do the work. If they only work evenings and weekends, that could mean it’s a part-time job. Some contractors will work evenings and weekends to get the job done but that shouldn’t be the only time they are working.
- Watch for red flags early in the process. Do they show up when they say they will? Are they responsive to your questions? If they don’t communicate with you and aren’t dependable before the job begins don’t expect them to be any different during the project.
Choosing the right company will help ensure you get quality work at a fair price. You want a company that has the experience to meet your job requirements.