When you’re building a home or doing renovations, selecting the right contractor makes a big difference. Residential construction is a big market, and there are contractors of all skill levels and experience within it.
Many times, when building a new residential site, you’ll have to work with several contractors for different aspects of the build.
Whenever you start a new project, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud and find the perfect contractor for the job.
Ask for Recommendations
Chances are, someone in your social circle has worked with a residential construction contractor at some point. Ask for recommendations from your family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, realtors, or anyone else.
If you’re having trouble finding recommendations from people you know personally, you can always seek outside sources too. Your local chamber of commerce is full of experienced business owners and developers who can likely point you in the right direction.
You can also check online boards for local contractors. Online boards likely come with personal reviews, too. Though, look out for online testimonials that seem “too good to be true.”
Interview Potential Contractors
Once you have a pool of recommendations to choose from, you can start seeking out more information about them. You want to have at least five contractors to interview.
That way, you can get a variety of bids and compare between them to determine who is the best for the job.
At this point, you’ll conduct phone interviews with each of your selections. Choose your interview questions to be as specific as possible to your project.
Here are some sample contractor interview questions:
- Have they worked on projects of similar size before?
- Who have their previous clients been?
- Do they have references from their financial institution and suppliers?
- How many projects would they have going on at one time?
- How long have they worked with their subcontractors?
Their answers to your interview questions reveal how much attention your project would get, how reliable they are, and how experienced they are with similar projects.
Once you’ve conducted phone interviews, choose a few contractors to meet with face-to-face and discuss the project in more detail. During this time, you want to ensure that you and they can communicate easily.
Good communication between you and your contractor is an important determination for whether the project gets completed satisfactorily.
However, don’t choose a contractor based on personality alone. Even if you get along with a contractor, it doesn’t mean they’re the best person for the job. Don’t forget to also check your local Better Business Bureau to make sure they don’t have a history of unhappy clients and disputes.
Confirm Their Experience and Licenses
So you’ve found a contractor with the experience and knowledge to tackle your residential construction project. And on top of that, you get along with them and you’re confident that you’ll have an easy time communicating.
Before moving on to contracts or payments, double-check all their claims. We know you’re eager to get started on your project, but there’s no such thing as too much caution when it comes to hiring a contractor.
Speak to their previous clients and ask them what they liked and didn’t like about their experience. Also, double-check that your contractor choice has all the necessary licenses for the project.
Ask About Subcontractors and Their Licenses
Subcontractors will do a lot of the actual labor for your residential project. That includes plumbers, electricians, and other specialties.
These subcontractors have their licenses as well. Ask your contractor for copies of all their subcontractors’ licenses. Also, ask them how long they’ve worked with their subcontractor.
If a contractor hires a different electrician for every job, you may want to ask why they haven’t formed a good working relationship yet.
Get a Residential Construction Contract
Whenever you’re dealing with any contractor, you should always get everything in writing. Any detail of the project that you and your contractor discuss should be in the contract.
You can’t include too much information in a contract. After all, it’s a legal document to protect both you and your contractor. A legitimate contractor will be more than happy to sign it.
Some things that you might include in a contract:
- Payment schedule and agreed price
- Agreed upon supplies and materials
- Start date and completion date
- Required lien releases (which protects you if a contractor doesn’t pay his subcontractors)
- Proof of liability insurance and workers compensation payments
A contract isn’t a sign of mistrust. A contract is a blueprint for a successful relationship between you and the contractor and a satisfactory finished product.
Don’t Expect Immediate Action
If you’ve chosen a quality contractor, they’re probably busy with other projects. So don’t expect your project to start immediately.
Depending on the area and time of year, expect to have to work yourself into a contractor’s schedule. Because of that, you should start planning a project at least six months in advance.
Communicate With Your Contractor Regularly
Before your project starts and especially during a project, regular communication with your contractor is key. There are endless decisions made throughout a project.
You may have to discuss changes in material, time expectations, or project updates. If you visit the job site and see something different than how you thought, speak up immediately.
It’s easier to fix problems during construction than after the project is done. Of course, try not to micromanage. If you’ve gone through an interview process and confirmed a contractor’s experience, you should be able to rely on them to provide a quality finished product.
Contact a General Contractor
Finding a contractor you can trust for your residential construction project is a daunting process. If you’re in the New Orleans, LA area, we’re happy to answer all your questions about any project you have.
To contact our general contractors, fill out this form to let us know all the details about your project.
Eagle Eye Resources – Your One-Stop Shop For Residential & Commercial Construction Services
We are a vertically integrated real estate development company in New Orleans. The term integration means that if you provide us with the vision, we can create it from the ground up. With our Design-Build services, our architects can design the facility of your dreams and seamlessly start construction with our team of experienced contractors. We are black real estate developers in addition to being one of the 100% black-owned construction companies in the state of Louisiana. To sweeten the deal, we provide an outsourced facility maintenance program for our commercial clients to make sure your property remains in peak condition.
938 Lafayette St Ste. 236
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113
(504) 233-3173 Office