Choosing The Right General Contractor
When beginning any construction project, finding the right GC for your needs is essential. Spending time upfront to find a quality contractor, can save hours of time and headaches. While the quoted cost can and should be a significant factor when making the decision, it shouldn’t be the only factor. There are several other considerations and certain red flags to look out for.
Here are five key points when choosing a general contractor:
Does the GC have the experience required to meet the scope of the project?
- With any project, it’s important to align the skills of the contractor with the work that needs to be completed.
- Ask the GC about their unique capabilities and if they’ve performed similar types of work.
- It’s certainly appropriate to ask for referrals.
Does the general contractor have adequate resources at their disposal?
- A strong network of subcontractors – it’s important that your contractor has a network of reliable subcontractors.
- Adequate staff to handle the project – especially for larger projects, does the contractor have enough staff on both the project management and administrative sides? If pulling permits is involved, are they familiar with the local municipality and permitting agency?
- Self-performing work – find out what unique capabilities and other self-performing work, your GC can offer. This would give them greater control over the process, schedule and costs.
Does the general contractor effectively communicate with customers and subcontractors?
- You can never underestimate the value of effective communication. It’s what keeps projects running smoothly and on time.
- It’s important to choose a general contractor that is skilled at helping clients get their ideas out of their heads… then effectively communicate what needs to be done with subcontractors to best achieve goals.
Can the general contractor bring a construction-specific perspective to project planning?
- When working with architects and engineers, a good GC is able to offer a different perspective from a construction standpoint.
- This perspective allows the GC to make specific recommendations that are more effective for the project and/or will save a considerable amount of money.
Does the general contractor have a strong financial record?
- Having a healthy balance sheet is a very important quality to look for in a GC.
- If a GC is financially responsible in their own business practices, then it is a good sign that they will manage the costs of your project.
- Keep in mind that a quoted cost does not always turn out to be the actual end cost – the most responsible contractors do their homework on the front-end in order to give accurate estimates.