From a proven success record to being transparent, here are 12 answers to the question, “What are the best qualities a client should look for when hiring a general contractor?”
- Experience and a Good Track Record
- Verified Licenses and Insurance
- Strength in Planning
- Respectful of Home and Owner’s Wishes
- Have a Stable Group of Subcontractors
- Prompt and Clear Communication
- Reputable History
- Breadth of Knowledge
- Good References and Reviews
Experience and a Good Track Record
When hiring a general contractor, it’s important to look for someone with experience and an outstanding track record of completing projects on time and within budget. This ensures that the contractor has the skills and knowledge to manage the project effectively and deliver a high-quality finished product.
One way to verify this is by checking references and looking at the contractor’s portfolio of completed work. Additionally, you should ensure that the contractor is licensed and insured and has a good reputation in the community. A general contractor who is easy to communicate with, responsive to your needs, and flexible is also valuable. Overall, hiring an experienced, reputable, and communicative general contractor is crucial for a successful construction project.
Brandon Brown, CEO, GRIN
Verified Licenses and Insurance
Before selecting a contractor, one of the most crucial things you can do is to make sure that everything about their operation is legal and ethical.
In order to protect your workers, confirm that the contractor you intend to hire is fully insured and possesses all necessary permits for your state. Because you didn’t exercise due care in the hiring process, you don’t want to be held responsible for any legal actions.
Additionally, you should confirm that the business promotes a secure atmosphere for its employees or subcontractors. Any professional contractor wouldn’t laugh at you for asking for those documents, so it’s a good idea to avoid doing business with them if they do.
Timothy Woods, Director, Carnivore Style
Strength in Planning
When I’m hiring a general contractor, the first quality I look for is how detailed their plan of action is. A general contractor who has few details laid out can be a sign that they don’t have sufficient experience. It’s important for them to outline the timeline for each step of the process, from paperwork and preparation all the way through to completion.
They should also be knowledgeable about potential barriers or issues that might arise during the project and be able to explain their approach to those situations in detail. This kind of foresight shows their experience with similar projects in the past, which will make you feel confident in entrusting them with yours.
Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com
When hiring a general contractor, one of the most important qualities to look for is attention to detail. A general contractor with strong attention to detail will ensure that they execute every aspect of the construction project with precision and accuracy. This means that they will pay close attention to the design, materials, and labor required to complete the project, and they will take the time to address any potential issues or concerns.
Attention to detail also means that a general contractor will be thorough in their communication with the client, keeping them informed and updated throughout the project. This will ultimately lead to a higher-quality finished product and a smooth building process.
Laura Martinez, Consultant & Content Writer, PersonalityMax
Respectful of Home and Owner’s Wishes
A good contractor is always respectful of a client’s home. When they first arrive, a good contractor should always listen to the client’s primary concerns before bringing up their own. A contractor who walks in and immediately starts pointing out faults may not be the best listener or may have their own agenda in the absolute worst-case scenario.
Adam Bem, Co-Founder & COO, Victoria VR
Have a Stable Group of Subcontractors
As an engineer, one of the most important things to look for in a general contractor is that they have a stable group of subcontractors. When I was working on a past project, I had the pleasure of working with a stellar general contractor who had a strong relationship with his subcontractors.
By having this strong relationship, it made the timeline for the project less problematic and we could complete it in record time. Thus, from my experience, when looking for a general contractor, one should consider their relationship with their subcontractors. This will determine how successful and efficient you can complete your project.
Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof
Prompt and Clear Communication
Even before we embark on a professional relationship with someone, there are clear indicators that tell us if they are dependable communicators. When someone attempts to communicate with clarity and does so promptly from the beginning, you know you will have a smooth relationship.
So if your general contractor readily makes time for you, conveys any delays, or even offers reasonable explanations for misses, you know you will work with someone who values your time. On the other hand, if you’re having difficulty communicating with a contractor you’ve shortlisted even in the early stages, you can almost always bet that things will only get worse.
Neil Platt, Director, Emerald Home Improvements
Any time you interview a potential contractor, delve into their experience. Ask them what other projects they have done. Who did they work for before going out on their own? Find out what they did best, which projects challenged them the most, and why.
Don’t just rely on the references they give you; they will be hand-picked by the contractor because they will garner the best reviews. Find out more and do some research. If there are any blemishes, such as incomplete or shoddy work or failure to meet deadlines, they should be red-flagged. A lot of money is poured into contract work, and you want to be sure you’re choosing reputable people for such jobs.
Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder & CEO, Nue Life
Breadth of Knowledge
Look for a general contractor who is knowledgeable about a wide range of home improvement topics. This could include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, and more. A contractor who is well-versed in many areas is more likely to handle any job that comes their way. This can be helpful for homeowners who aren’t sure what kind of project they want to do, or who aren’t sure what projects they will want to do in the future.
Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely
Good References and Reviews
The top quality to look for when hiring a general contractor is the type of reviews and references people give. Excellent work will always receive praise, and terrible workmanship will not go down well with most people. Take the time to research more about a contractor and get a glimpse of their previous projects and what the clients said about them. Never ignore any red flags raised.
Alvin Wei, CMO, SEOAnt
One important quality a client must look for when hiring a general contractor is reliability. Do your due diligence, e.g., through interviews and references, to check for reliability before engaging a contractor.
A reliable contractor will have a proven track record of completing projects on time and within budget, and will be able to provide references from satisfied clients. A reliable contractor will also respond to questions and concerns throughout the engagement period, and should be able to provide clear and detailed estimates and timelines for the work to be done.
Will Baker, Founder, Skirtings R Us
A great general contractor is very transparent about the timeline, cost, and predictability of the project. Right away, if you ask the right questions, you will understand if this contractor is transparent in the way they do business.
This will go a long way if you decide to work with this contractor, and you will have a better experience if the contractor is transparent. It will prove that this contractor is honest, has integrity, and you can trust them.
Scott Krager, Founder, Key Fob Replacement