Skip to main content

What to know before hiring a general contractor

Hiring a general contractor is one of the most important parts of the home renovation process. Renovations can either be frustrating or exciting and hiring the best person for the job can make all the difference in determining that outcome. 

Because finding the right contractor will make your life so much easier during your home renovation, it’s essential to be prepared before you make your decision. Before hiring a general contractor for your latest renovation, be sure you’re aware of each of these five things:

1. The full scope of the project

Most of us are guilty of getting ahead of ourselves when it comes to renovating. It’s easy to get overly excited about the potential changes and begin the project before it’s fully planned. But this mistake can be disastrous. 

It’s essential to know the scope of your project before you hire your general contractor because changes to the project can impact quality, timeline, and cost. In order to get accurate estimates for each of these things, you need to be able to share the big picture with your contractor early on. Your contractor can then let you know if the entire project falls within their range of expertise, or if they’ll need to connect you with other contractors. 

Sometimes when you know the whole scope of your project, you’ll realize it’s not as complicated as you realized. You may be able to work with a handyman instead of a general contractor, which may save you money. Many general contractors have connections with sub-contractors and handymen and can put you in touch with someone who will be best for the job. 

It’s always best to know the end goal before beginning. This will prevent any major surprises down the road because you’ll be able to plan for everything. You’ll know exactly how the project will turn out before you begin. 

2. Budget

The next thing you need to be aware of before hiring a general contractor is your budget. This includes your target price range as well as the cost you are absolutely not willing to go beyond. The more clearly you have the budget planned out, the easier it will be to discuss your vision with your contractor. 

While you’re going over your plans with a potential contractor, they can tell you what you’ll be able to accomplish within your price range. They can inform you which materials will be affordable and if there are any pieces of the project that will significantly impact the cost. 

If you’re able to plan out the entire project with a specific number goal in mind, you won’t find yourself going over budget half-way through a renovation. You’ll be able to prioritize your must-have items and save money on the parts of the project that are less important to you. 

3. A Fair Price Range

Never hire a contractor without first looking into the typical price range for similar projects. Contractors set their own rates, so if they know you don’t have a good idea about how much a project should cost, you could be overcharged. 

Before you hire your general contractor, be sure you’ve compared their rates to others in the area. You can also ask friends and family what they’ve paid for similar projects. You don’t always have to go with the cheapest option. Often, higher quality work comes with a higher price tag, but it’s important to know the difference between paying for high quality and getting overcharged. 

While discussing the cost with potential contractors, ask questions about what factors are affecting the cost. If you’re working with a contractor whose prices are lower than most, be sure to ask about how they bring the cost down. You don’t want to work with someone who cuts corners, so be thorough in your discussion of pricing. 

4. Your Necessary Timeline

Home renovations can be disruptive, especially if you’re renovating an important area of the house like the kitchen or a bathroom. Before you begin the project, you should determine how long you will be able to go without access to the area being worked on. Then communicate this with potential contractors so you can get an accurate idea of how quickly each contractor will be able to complete the job. 

Often, contractors work at similar speeds, but some contractors are able to outsource extra help if a project needs to be expedited. Many general contractors also have long lists of clients, so you’ll want to communicate about how soon they’ll be able to get to your project. If you’re aiming to have the project complete before an important holiday or other special occasion, discuss this with your potential contractor to see if that’s a doable goal. 

5. Contractor’s Past Experience

The final thing to be aware of before hiring your general contractor is how much experience they have with similar projects. There are so many types of home renovations and not every contractor has experience with all of them. 

Before choosing the contractor you’re going to work with, ask what types of renovations they’re most experienced in. If they have pictures of the projects, you can see if the outcomes look similar to your desired outcome. Most contractors want you to be satisfied with the end result of the project, so they’ll be happy to share their experience to help you determine if working with them is the right choice. 

Speak with a general contractor for help planning your project.

While it’s important to know the answers to all of these questions before hiring a general contractor, it’s never too early to get in touch with a professional to ask questions and get a better understanding of how the project might work. 

Often, it can be easier to get a plan for the scope, timeline, average price range, and budget of the project after speaking with an experienced professional. Reach out to a general contractor in your area and discuss where you are in the planning process, and often they can guide you as you move forward.

Want to start your new construction project?

We'll help walk you through the process of starting a new home build, remodel, or small commercial construction project. With years of experience and performing builds across multiple states, we know the ins and outs of the industry. Let us help make your dream a reality. 

Back to top