The selection of a general contractor is a vital step in your home’s renovation process. If a homeowner fails to work with a professional contractor who is experienced, knowledgeable, and reputable, they may be faced with exaggerated prices, a poor work ethic, delays in the project, and structural issues that may lead to a lawsuit. All of that can be avoided by hiring a great general contractor in LA.
The objective, then, is to employ a qualified general contractor who has excellent references and the organization you need at all levels of your project. Starting from the initial bid all the way to the completion of the project, you must be in communication with the general contractor every step of the way.
What to do Before Meeting with a General Contractor
Check Their References
Almost anyone can pay for an advertisement. However, qualified general contractors can get referrals from their former clients. While it’s more convenient to navigate your favorite search engine and see who appears at the top of the results, it’s better to speak with family members, neighbors, and friends. Ask them who they would recommend and why. If the name of a general contractor comes up repeatedly, move their name to the top of your list.
Confirm the General Contractor is Insured, Bonded, and Licensed
It’s true the license of a contractor isn’t exactly a stamp of approval by the state, but it does reflect their professionalism. Virtually every contractor claims they are “licensed, bonded and insured.” That does not mean it’s true. It also doesn’t confirm they will perform work that is up to your standards. Fortunately, you can verify all three claims:
Licensed– A general contractor must apply for a contractor’s license. You can confirm their license(s) if you have their contractor number which is typically displayed on company letterhead, website or business card. Be wary if it is not prominently displayed or difficult to find.
Bonded– Make sure you ask the general contractor for their bond number or certification. That information can be verified with the bonding agency.
Insured– Don’t work with a general contractor unless they have liability insurance. If he or she employs others, make sure they have workman’s compensation insurance as well. They should easily be able to produce a Certificate of Insurance upon request. Be vigilant of the expiration date. You will want to obtain a new copy if their insurance expires during your project.
Get an Itemized Bid
Assert the contractor you have chosen can provide you with an itemized bid. Make sure you know if it is firm or estimated. The bid will be a breakdown, line-by-line, of the cost of the project in its entirety. If you have more than one general contractor in mind, this will help make the decision much easier for you.
Ensure both parties are always on top of the project by setting clear expectations and speaking consistently. Keep in mind it’s in the contractor’s best interest to show he or she is trustworthy, so you will consider providing a recommendation to potential clients.
The list above may seem like a lot of work, but open communication between the homeowner and their general contractor in LA is crucial to the project’s success. Be prepared to for any questions the general contractor may have for you. They may want clarification on what you want so they can get to the heart of what you need.