How to Find the Right General Contractor

Oct 17, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments

If you’re planning out an upcoming commercial or home renovation, big or small, you may have already considered the prospect of hiring a general contractor to carry out your project smoothly. Having a reliable contractor gives property owners peace of mind, access to a greater pool of resources, and a faster time to completion. Carmax Consulting has been servicing the Greater Edmonton Area (including Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Alberta, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain) since 2009. We are often asked how to identify a reputable contracting firm, and understand just how daunting the task can seem at first. To help make sure you’re on the right track, we’ve compiled a list of 4 questions to ask your prospective contractors.

  1. Ask for a portfolio of related past projects, along with proof of insurance
  2. Request a detailed quote breakdown and payment schedule
  3. Ask for a proposed project timeline, as well as how they plan to stay on track
  4. Find out who you’ll be in contact with and how to best reach them

Taking a look at a contractor’s portfolio should help give you an idea as to whether or not they have experience with your kind of project. For example, if you’re looking to do a basement or kitchen renovation, you’ll want to ensure your prospective contractors have a few samples for you to discuss before you go ahead. It’s also a good idea to look into their preferred subcontractors and their respective areas of expertise. Finally, asking to see proof of insurance will reassure you that both your home as well as any workers on site are covered in the case of any mishaps.

A major aspect of starting off on the right foot with your contractor has transparency from the beginning. Asking for an itemized list of expenses (including areas with the potential to exceed budget) enables you to see where your money will be allocated and allows for accountability on both sides of the contract. Establishing a payment schedule takes away the headache of an unexpected expense, giving both homeowner and contractor the ability to know upfront what milestones or timeline points correspond with what payments.

One of the common stigmas attached to contractors is the notion that “delays are inevitable”. A good contractor knows how to keep things running on time and budget. They should also be able to breakdown their process so you can plan with their timeline in mind. To ensure the contractor you’re looking to work with is capable of doing so, try taking things a step further by asking about their sub-contracting network and who/what their go-to backup plan is should any unexpected challenges arise. If you are unable to receive a solid answer here, it could be a sign that the company you’re considering lacks direct experience with a project of your scale, or may not have the best practices in place.

Returning to the concept of establishing of transparency, knowing how to get in contact with your contractor is a must. Find out who the best person to reach is, as well as the optimal way to stay in touch. In return, make sure they know how to reach you. That way, should either side have any questions or concerns along the process, you’ll know exactly what to do!

Want to learn more about home or commercial renovations? Contact our trusted team of experts today!