In: Construction Management65

Whether you’re undertaking a new building project or doing simple renovations, you’ll have to balance price, quality, and time. To help you select the best mix of the three, one of my best construction tips is to hire a general contractor that has experience in your area. This general contractor should have existing relationships with local subcontractors, know who delivers quality work, and understand how to manage a project so it gets finished on time.

To give you an idea of your other options, let’s compare working with subcontractors versus general contractors.

Benefits of working with a subcontractor

When you work with subcontractors in a construction project, you need to find someone skilled and qualified to handle electricity, plumbing, carpeting, HVAC, roofing, counter tops, doors, windows, and more. It takes 22 subcontractors to build the average home.

In our experience, it takes 6 to 11 subcontractors for a typical bath or kitchen remodel.

  • Demo
  • Framing
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Drywall
  • Paint
  • Cabinets
  • Counter tops
  • Trim Carpentry
  • Flooring
  • Finishes

Once you have the subcontractors you need, you then have to manage their schedule so everything gets done in the proper order as efficiently as possible. This balancing act is something that you can perfect through study, experience, and usually mistakes, but it takes time.

  • You can talk, negotiate, and learn directly from the specialists in their field.
  • One-part projects (for example, new tiles in your kitchen) will be less expensive than a general contractor.
  • Subcontractors tend to have flexible schedules.

Benefits of working with a general contractor

When you hire a general contractor, you hire a team with the experience and education to handle a build seamlessly. A general contractor finds reliable subcontractors, the best price, takes care of scheduling and invoicing, manages the employees, and does safety checks. General contractors are able to guide a project through the different legal steps as well; from a city inspection to acquiring a permit. In some cases, this can become an expensive process that takes months of time without a general contractor. As an added bonus, general contractors usually get better subcontractor rates, since they’re likely to be repeat customers. When you work with subcontractors, not only do you have to find them, you also have to take the time to vet them, and worry about every pay order, invoice, and schedule.

  • If you get a subcontractor referral from a general contractor, you’re likely to get a better rate.
  • There are some projects wherein a general contractor is needed to pass the city permit and inspection process. Adding on to your home, building a new home, or remodels involving multiple trades typically require city permits.
  • General contractors are able to guide clients through city inspections, city code requirements, and other permits needed.
  • Quality assurance goes through multiple checks.
  • Materials, scheduling, and management of the project is taken care of comprehensively by experienced teams.
  • You don’t have to plan or communicate as far in advance.
  • Costly mistakes are often avoided when utilizing a general contractor and their expertise & resources.

Overall, if you have the expertise needed to handle multiple subcontractors at once, or if you only want one thing done (ie. re-grout the floors), then hiring subcontractors may be more cost efficient for you. However, if you’re just beginning a project or don’t know subcontractors in your area, a general contractor knows who to go with, can mastermind the scheduling, and will bring years of expertise to your project. Also, since general contractors and subcontractors work together often, a general contractor may get you special rates.

Questions to ask your general contractor

In order to ensure you select the right general contractor for the job, considering asking them the following questions;

  • Are you licensed?
  • How long have you been working in the industry? What about in the area?
  • Do you have insurance for the construction period?
  • What would my schedule look like?
  • Who will be on-site throughout the project?
  • Do you offer any guarantees on your work, and if so, what are they?
  • What would my payment schedule be?
  • Is there any part of my project that concerns you?
  • What documentation will you give me once the job is done?
  • What’s the best way to reach you during and after office hours?
  • Where can I find examples of your past work?

Task Pros Contracting is a general contractor that handles many aspects of construction. This includes everything from a new kitchen to a new build from the ground up. To learn more about how we can help you build your future projects, contact us or take a look at one of our other projects.

65 thoughts on “Construction tips: Hire a general contractor”
  1. I like what this article mentions about what to ask the contractor. It makes sense that asking things like how long they’ve been in business or if they are licensed or not could be helpful. I’ll have to remember to ask what the deal is with the permits, because if they’re able to get one then great, but, if I need to get it, I’d like to know.

    • Justin Turley

      Tyler,

      Each job is unique and requires different permitting which also vary in different city’s & states. Be sure to ask both your contractor & your local city building department if any permits are required.

      -Task-Pros Team

  2. I personally would like to know how long a contractor has been working in the business. I wouldn’t want to have to hire another contractor half way through a build because there was a problem that the one I hired couldn’t handle. It seems like somewhere between 5 and 10 years would give you a good amount of experience.

    • Justin Turley

      Emily,

      Thanks for the comment, We love the feedback!

      -Task Pros Team

  3. I am happy to have found this information about the tips of hiring a general contractor. It is good to know that when working with a general contractor, materials, scheduling, and management of the project is taken care of comprehensively by experienced teams. It would be great to be guaranteed this kind of quality. Something to consider would be to find a local contractor to make the project easier to complete.

    • Justin Turley

      Jade,

      Thanks for the feedback, check back periodically for more articles!

      -Task Pros Team

  4. Thanks for mentioning that costly mistakes are often avoided when you use a general contractor and their expertise and resources. I hadn’t thought about this benefit! It would be great to be able to get referrals for subcontractors at a better rate too, since that would be another way a general contractor could save you money.

  5. I’ve been wanting to make some renovations to our main floor in our home, and will need a good contractor for hte job. You wrote that general contractors can help guide the project through the legal steps that may be necessary. I am unfamiliar with the code that exists for renovations like ours, so I’ll be sure to find a contractor that does. Thanks for the tips.

  6. I liked reading what you had to say about the benefits of working with a general contractor, and how they are able to guide a project through different legal steps as well as the actual physical construction. I would imagine that in most cases a person like that would probably work with subcontractors of their own as well, so you would probably end up with the best of both worlds. Whichever option you choose, it would make sense to me to get references from any potential options to see what their past clients have to say about them.

  7. I need to find a general contractor to help me with a house project. I had no idea that a good contractor can help guide you through city inspections and code requirements. When finding a contractor, it would be smart to get quotes from several of them so that you can pick one with the best service and price.

  8. That’s superb ideas ask your fiends and family if they have worked with any contractors and had positive experiences. Search online for contractors in your area. Look for recent reviews from their customer. After that you can hire a contractor.

  9. My brother is considering having a home built for his family. He is outgrowing that 2-bedroom apartment he’s been renting. I didn’t realize that a general contractor can save you money by hiring subcontractors at a lower price while taking care of invoices and scheduling. That seems like a great benefit during the building process.

  10. My mom is wanting to remodel her kitchen this summer. She has been slowly planning what materials she wants and what she wants it to look like. However, she has yet to hire a contractor to actually do it for her. I like that you suggest to ask the contractor who will be on-site during the project. This is especially important to ask for my mom because she gets startled by strangers. I’ll have to make sure to ask this as we meet with different experts.

  11. It is good to know that general contractors are able to guide clients through city inspections. Knowing the city code requirements would be highly beneficial. It would be great to find a contractor who has worked on projects similar to yours to ensure that adequate experience has been achieved.

  12. Thank you for talking about how choosing the right contractor can help you make sure you get the best quality materials. It makes sense that remembering to find someone you can trust and who can get the job done in a timely manner can protect your investment. I would want to make sure I find someone that is certified to help me with my brick restoration projects.

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  14. We are planning on remodeling our bathroom, and we will be needing a contractor to help us. I didn’t realize that referrals from general contractor could help you get better rates on subcontractors. This is some great information. Thanks for the insightful article on tips we can use to hire someone to help us with our bathroom!

  15. I can definitely see the benefits from hiring a good contractor. We are looking to totally remodel our kitchen this summer, so I appreciate the tips you have here. I hadn’t even thought to ask a contractor if there are any parts of the project that concern him or her.

  16. My husband has been wanting to remodel our kitchen on his own for the past month. I have told him that we need an expert to do it so it turns out perfect! I wasn’t aware that once you have the subcontractors you need, you then have to manage their schedule so everything gets done in the proper order as efficiently as possible. Since we don’t have time on out hands until summer we will be sure to look into that aspect of the rebuild!

  17. It is good to learn that general contractors are able to guide clients through city inspections and city code requirements. Not having to worry about these things on your own would save you time and stress. Another thing to do would be to ask the contractor about his daily schedule and the time his work day usually starts and ends.

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  21. Very informative blog shared. I really enjoyed reading it.

  22. I like the idea that a general contractor will help you to build your home while performing several quality assurance checks. My wife and I have been planning on building a large home for our entire family. I definitely think that we should look into finding a contractor that could better understand our needs as a family.

  23. That’s a great point you make about how, when you hire a general contractor, you essentially hire a team with experience and education to help you build whatever it is you need built. I’ve heard, too, that hiring a general contractor can help you feel a lot less stress and anxiety since you won’t have to be in charge of figuring out the intricate details of everything in the project. I’ll be sure to keep this great information in mind as I try to decide if I could benefit from hiring a general contractor for our home building project this summer.

  24. It’s interesting to read the questions you have listed that you should ask a general contractor. Knowing what sort of licensing they have and how their schedule would work with yours could definitely be good to make sure there are no conflicts. These questions could be very helpful even when dealing with a problem that the general contractor doesn’t handle like rock trenching. I’ll have to keep your list in mind so I can hire contractors that will work well for my situation.

  25. I like how you say that you would want to find out what your schedule would be when you are hiring a building contractor. It would make sense to want to know a timeline for your home so that you know when you will be able to move in. My sister recently moved back to our hometown and is looking for someone to build her house so she’ll have to do as you say and find out what the schedule will be like.

  26. My sister wants to get her kitchen remodeled soon. She wants the area to have more functionality, so she’s looking for a good general contractor. I didn’t realize how important it is to choose a professional that does quality assurance throughout the process. I’ll be sure to share this tip with my sister today.

  27. I had no idea that hiring a contractor also meant that they could take care of all the legal aspects of the paperwork too. It makes sense that taking the time to understand what a contractor does can help you make sure you take full advantages of their services and their connections to get the best supplies for the job. As I see it, understanding that taking the time to shop around and compare several professionals can help you make sure you find the best materials to make your structure stable.

  28. I didn’t know that the contractor you hire will generally take on the task of hiring subcontractors for your job. My wife and I are looking at getting a large amount of our home remodeled, so this is really good to know. It would definitely save me a lot of time and hassle if a contractor would handle the whole subcontractor hiring process for me.

  29. I like how you mention the fact that general contractors already have contracts with great subcontractors. My husband and I are looking for some help remodeling our residential home after a storm hit it pretty bad. I’ll be sure that we look into residential home general contractors since they will be able to take care of scheduling and managing any subcontractors we need.

  30. Thanks for the tip that general contractors are able to guide clients through such things like city inspections and city code requirements. My dad is looking to renovate his house after a car accidentally crashed through the front door. It might be time to get a good residential contractor to help with my dad’s renovations and working through the city permits and inspections.

  31. Phenomenal work right here. I in reality enjoyed that which you needed to state.

  32. I like how you say that a general contractor is good to have around because they can guide you through any necessary permits. It would make sense to find someone who knows these processes because you are probably unfamiliar with them. My brother is looking for a general contractor, so he’ll have to find one that can work with him in getting permits.

  33. Great tips, thanks for sharing, I agree with Gloria and her point about necessary permits

  34. Thanks for this info. My dad will be constructing a new building. He’s now looking constructions supplies and contractors for this project.

  35. I’m glad you mentioned that a contractor will often hire subcontractors. My wife and I have been wanting to find a good building contractor, and I think that being able to get someone who can delegate would be good. I’m going to have to look for some good options and figure out what we can find! Thanks!

  36. thanks for your comment about how contractors should be skilled and work on a schedule. I like how you said that they should also be able to manage their project well and communicate with you. My husband is considering professional contractors to hire to work on our house’s siding.

  37. Construction tips are good to have when hiring a general contractor.

  38. I can see why working with a general contractor is a good idea. We are hoping to remodel our entire basement, so this is perfect for us. I love the idea that the materials and scheduling could taken care of for us if we hire one of these!

  39. Excellent blog you have written on General Contractor, it will be helpful for so many peoples and i will share this blog to those who want to know about this topic.

  40. As being a Newbie, We’re permanently exploring online for articles which can be of help to me. Many thanks

  41. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you can do with a few percent to power the message house a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  42. These are some helpful tips for finding a general contractor. I like how you said that we need to check and see if they are licensed. We are planning a home remodel in the near future, so I’ll be sure to find a licensed contractor to help us with it.

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  44. “I appreciate you sharing this article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…”

  45. I agree that a good general contractor would have the best rate and does safety checks to ensure that there would be no further damages. My mother asked me to get a contractor to work on our roof because she is quite busy with her work. It’s great to find an article that could aid me in deciding on what company to choose. Thanks for the tips!

  46. I agree that some projects need certain permits and inspections, so that’s a reason to get a general contractor to help you. In major renovations it’s probably important to have someone who has experience and who understands different codes. I also agree that it can help you save a lot of time to get a contractor.

  47. Thanks for mentioning that I’ll want to make sure the contractor I hire is properly licensed. I’ve also heard that you want to make sure they are insured, as accidents can happen. My aunt is wanting to remodel parts of her home, so she’s been looking for a contractor to help her. I’ll totally share these great tips with her.

  48. I have been thinking about getting a general contractor for my home but I wanted to look up a few tips. I really appreciated the part that said it can be an expensive process that takes months without a general contractor. I really like to get things done quickly so that I can use them quickly.

  49. I think this is a real great blog article.Thanks Again.

  50. My kitchen is needing to be redone, but I am really nervous because I don’t know how to do this project by myself. Thank you for sharing that general contractors will be able to help me find best prices and reliable subcontractors. Before reading this article, I had no idea that general contractors were such a huge help. I will definitely be finding a good general contractor.

  51. I’ve been looking for someone to help pave a pathway through our garden for a while now. Thanks to your advice, I know to look for a professional contractor because they make getting materials easier. When I go to hire someone, I’ll have to consider the materials they use as well.

  52. I thought it was a brilliant idea to ask your general contractor which jobs they can do. I need to remodel my kitchen and I want to make sure to hire the best people for the job. I will be sure to ask my general contractor about this.

  53. Thanks for the advice about asking a general contractor how long they have been working in the industry and specifically in their area. It would be good to hire someone who has a lot of experience in their area because this would show that they have had longer to establish connections. My husband and I need help with a home addition we want to do to our living room, so we’ll have to find an experienced general contractor to help us out.

  54. I like when you said that hiring an experienced general contractor is equivalent to hiring a team of professional builders who can perform their functions smoothly and efficiently. It is because they take charge in managing the whole construction project and has the keen knowledge of planning it out piece per piece. I was looking to have my home rebuilt due to the substandard materials that were used previously to build it and your tip sure is helpful for me in understanding how important it is to hire a reputable general contractor to construct it. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind while I save up for this project.

  55. Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly. You can find related info here: http://www.bcbuilder.ca/

  56. Very good post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  57. I really like that you mentioned that you should ask your contractor what their schedule will look like with you. I am looking to hire a contractor and I need to know when they will be working for me so that I will know when to take off work if needed. I will be sure to ask my contractor about their schedule with accordance to me.

  58. I really like that you mentioned the benefits of working with subcontractors. I wasn’t super big on the idea of subcontractor before, but I am now on board with the idea. I will be sure ask my contractor if they will be working with subcontractors.

  59. I loved the tip that you should ask your contractor about their current schedule to see if you can fit in. I need to hire a contractor. I will be sure to hire a contractor who can help me out and fit me into the schedule.

  60. I really like that you mentioned that by hiring a general contractor, you will most likely get better rates for subcontractors who will need to work under your general contractor. My wife and I want to hire a contractor to help us remodel our kitchen. I will be sure to tell her that we can get good rates for subcontractors by hiring a general contractor.

  61. I really like that you listed the benefits of working with a subcontractor along with your contractor. I was needing to hire a contractor to help me with my home, and I was concerned about how subcontractors will be. I am glad to learn that subcontractors will be a good added benefit. I will be sure to remember that while I work with subcontractors.

  62. Thanks for the tip about finding a general contractor who will give you a good rate. It would make sense to find someone who is qualified as well. My husband and I are looking for a home builder, so we’ll have to check their qualifications first.

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