Choosing and hiring a General Contractor is an important process, and one that no homeowner should take too lightly. If you're in the market for building an addition to your existing home structure, you will want to make sure that the work done by your addition contractor is first class and flawless, and that you are not overcharged.
Many people try to pass themselves off as experienced General Contractors, but to make sure you hire only reliable experts, follow these guidelines and tips:
- Make sure your Addition Contractor has an established track record, a stellar reputation, and a list of references you can contact to verify the quality of their work.
- Many states require that in order to practice as a General Contractor, you must first get licensed and certified. That may mean that the General Contractor has to pass an exam and pay annual licensing fees.
- Ask for copies of the contractor's current certifications or licenses, and if you are not sure what credentials are required in your particular jurisdiction, you can get that information from your state's Department of Labor or a similar government agency.
- Always use written contracts to make sure that both you and your Addition Contractor are literally on the same page. Run the contract past an attorney if there is anything you do not understand.
- Never pay a General Contractor for work ahead of time. Some hapless consumers fork over thousands of dollars up front, and then get ripped off by con artists posing as legitimate contractors who vanish without doing any work or refunding any money.
If possible, always have your General Contractor or addition contractor draw up a set of architectural plans or blueprints, and monitor the progress of the job while setting benchmarks for completion. Then you will be confident that the work is going along according to schedule and that each phase of the work matching the original design that you and your contractor or architect agreed upon.