Choosing a general contractor is a big decision. The right contractor can have your home looking and functioning the way you would like it to. A bad contractor can lead to loss of money and even damage to your property. Therefore, it is important to do your due diligence when hiring General Contractors Fresno CA.
Buy Cheap, Pay Twice
A general contractor usually charges an extra 20% to 30% for their services in addition to the construction work costs. You may think you can save that money by acting as your own general contractor. However, it is not as straightforward as you think.
Should You Be the General Contractor
Part of the job of being a general contractor is working with subcontractors. A subcontractor is going to think you don’t know what you are doing should you decide to be your own general contractor.
They may think that working with you will be more of an effort and more risky. So, a job that was originally $20,000 may now be $25,000. On top of that, you are responsible for all the contracts and coordination.
When you take on the role of a general contractor, you run the risk of overspending on materials. A large construction project may require you to buy thousands of materials and items.
Instead of shopping where general contractors shop, you are probably going to go to your local hardware store. As a result, you are spending three times more money on a new kitchen. If you are lucky, the quality of the materials may only be 25% better.
Be Selective When Choosing Your General Contractor
At the end of the day, you want quality work. You want your contractor to be able to finish your house project efficiently and functionally. When hiring a general contractor, understand that cheaper isn’t always better.
Spending a little more on a contractor who is licensed and has a good reputation is better than hiring a cheaper contractor and then having to hire another contractor to fix his mistakes.
Ask for General Contractors Fresno Ca References
When looking for a contractor, ask for references from clients that had a similar project to yours and contact them. It is true that most contractors will ask their happiest clients to be their references. However, a bad contractor will find it difficult to find a satisfied client as a reference.
Talking to previous clients you will find that even though they are happy, there were some aspects that they didn’t like. You can use this time to ask about pricing and schedule.
In construction, surprises sometimes happen. One good option for figuring if the contractor you are considering is a good fit is to ask him for a reference from a client whose project may have had some unexpected issues. That way you can see how the contractor handles situations that go wrong.
Ask Your Contractor About Other Collaborators
Construction companies in Fresno CA may have employees that they work with. That being said, it is most likely that subcontractors will also be involved in your construction project. When the general contractor takes on employees, he has to pay their salaries and insurance.
A general contractor may only take on employees if the workload is consistent. Subcontractors are basically there to meet the needs that cannot be provided by the contractor and/or his employees. Subcontractors work as independent business owners. So, they don’t need to be insured by the general contractor.
It is important to ask the general contractor about his collaborators. If he has employees, his success shows that he has a nice team. His relationship with subcontractors also points to how he works with others.
Put Everything in Writing
It is so important to have a contract with your general contractor. A contract can protect both you and the contractor. It allows for clear expectations. For example, if something breaks, the contract stipulates who pays for it.
When reviewing the contract, make sure you understand every aspect of it. If you don’t understand something in the contract, ask for clarification. In the contract, there should be a breakdown of the work that will be completed as well as the materials and fixtures used in the work.
There should also be the final cost, or at the very least, a system written in place to set the final cost. The deposit amount should be included. When it comes to paying the deposit, you don’t want to pay more than 15%. The contract should also include the quality of work you require.
There should also be a completion date. The work schedule should also be added to the contract. If there are delays, you need to put in writing the course of action. You may want to include terms of general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
Stipulations for cleanup during and after the completion of the project should also be included. This involves removing hazardous materials. You want to have in writing what will be done if surprises come up like structural problems. Warranties should also be added to the contract. The contract needs to be signed and dated.
Set a Payment Schedule
Using the “Pay as you go” model to set a payment schedule allows for transparency between homeowner and contractor. This payment schedule is time-based. So, after a certain amount of time has passed (usually every two weeks), your contractor will send you an invoice with expenses for that period of time.
The billing is usually one to two pages long and outlines every expense that was incurred during that period. The expenses fall into five categories. One category is the cost of labor provided by the contractor’s employees.
Another category is the purchase of rough materials. Rough materials would include nails and wood. Then, there is the category for sub-contractor payments. These payments should be made when a milestone is reached.
The purchase of finish materials like doors and appliances is another category. The last category is outside services. This can include paying for a portable toilet to be on the construction site.
In addition to the billing, the contractor should also give you supporting documents like timesheets, receipts, and subcontractor invoices. Doing so shows proof that they need to be compensated for their time and effort.
There also needs to be a tracking sheet. This tracks all the budget line items that were accepted in the contract. All order changes are also documented in the tracking sheet.
The Wrap Up
There are a few steps you should take when looking for a general contractor. The first thing you want to understand is cheaper doesn’t always mean better. So, unless you have experience, don’t attempt to be your own general contractor. Find one that is licensed and has a good reputation. Ask the general contractors in Fresno CA for references. Talk to the contractor about their collaborative relationships for projects. Write up a contract. Last but not least, you should set up a payment schedule. Follow the right tips for hiring a contractor, and you can protect yourself and your property.