What You NEED to know when hiring a contractor
What is a general contractor?
A general contractor is an experienced professional who manages all aspects of a residential or commercial construction project including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections.
General Contractors need to be licensed by the Department of Labor and Industry in the state of Minnesota, you can check on the status of a contractor's license here.
I have an idea of what I want but what's next?
The first step is to have the contractor come to you so you can show them the location of the project, they can get necessary information and measurements, and discuss your project in detail. They are then able to give you an estimate of the price of the work as well as help you understand the different options for materials you could select to meet your project goal and budget. Read our post about How To Get Your Best Estimate here.
How do I know if the estimate I receive is a fair price?
Do some research! A simple starting point is right on your computer. A great way to see average prices for similar projects in your area is to use the True Cost Guide on HomeAdvisor.com. Another great resource is HomeWyse.com because it allows you to see a breakdown of the range of cost for materials, labor, and supplies for your intended project. Otherwise you can receive more than one estimate from contractors, but do not automatically take the lowest price. Make sure to ask them how they came to that price to ensure you're going to get the outcome you desire.
I have accepted an estimate and want to move forward. What can I expect now?
Before beginning work on any project it is important to receive a written contract. It should clearly lay out the details of the project, the time frame expected for the work to be completed, the cost and payment schedule, and how changes to the project are handled. This is protection for both of you and sets the foundation for what you can expect in your working relationship.
What are the benefits of hiring a general contractor?
Having a general contractor is truly the simplest way to get a project completed when it is large or when you are unfamiliar with how to complete the work.
A general contractor is familiar with competitive bidding and works to get a good price for work that will be done right. This means it can be the least expensive option for completing your project other than self-contracting.
General contractors offer one-point responsibility for everything to do with your project. This includes budget, cleanliness of workspace, materials to be used, workmanship and excellence in details, and sticking to the schedule. When you hire a general contractor they are your best ally and will handle problems that arise and work to fix them.
General contractors want to work with, and thus hire, good subcontractors. That means they will show up to work when scheduled and meet the expectations set by the contractor.
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