30 Aug 2023

Selecting the right general contractor is a critical decision for your project, as it significantly influences the success of a construction project. A general contractor serves as the backbone of the project, responsible for turning your vision into reality. Therefore, you should consider several key factors when hiring a general contractor to ensure a smooth and successful project execution.

Experience & Track Record

The general contractor’s experience is paramount. When deciding on a general contractor, you should assess the contractor’s history of successfully completing projects similar in scope, complexity, and size to their own. A solid track record demonstrates the contractor’s ability to manage challenges and deliver quality results.

References & Reputation

Before finalizing a decision, request references from the general contractor from past clients and industry professionals. Speaking with these references can provide valuable insights into the contractor’s communication, problem-solving abilities, adherence to schedules, and overall professionalism.

Financial Stability

Construction projects require significant financial resources. A financially stable general contractor is better equipped to manage the project’s financial aspects, from procuring materials to paying subcontractors. You should assess the contractor’s financial health to ensure they won’t face sudden delays due to financial issues.

Licenses & Insurance

A reputable general contractor should possess all the necessary licenses and insurance coverage. Verify that the contractor is properly licensed to operate in the relevant jurisdiction and carries adequate liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This protects both parties in case of accidents, injuries, or property damage during construction.

In addition, a contractors EMR should also be reviewed.  EMR, or experience modification rating, is a calculation used by insurance firms to price the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. The rating reflects a variety of lagging indicators, such as injury costs or claim history, and offers a prediction of future risk.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital throughout the construction process. A high-quality general contractor should demonstrate the ability to listen, understand project goals, and communicate clearly and transparently. Regular updates, progress reports, and efficient problem-solving require strong communication skills.

Management & Leadership

A successful general contractor excels in project management and leadership. They coordinate various subcontractors, ensure tasks are completed on time, manage resources effectively, and maintain a cohesive team. Evaluate the contractor’s management approach to ascertain their ability to keep the project on track.

Quality Control

The finished product’s quality depends on the contractor’s commitment to high standards. Discuss with the general contractor their quality control processes, such as inspections, testing, and adherence to building codes and regulations. High-quality construction minimizes future maintenance issues and enhances the property’s value.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Challenges are inevitable in construction projects. A high-quality general contractor should have a proactive and innovative problem-solving attitude aimed at preventing costly delays and ensuring that the project stays within budget and schedule.

Subcontractor Relationships

General contractors are only as good as their subcontractors as they rely on a network to carry out specialized tasks. Inquire about the contractor’s relationships with subcontractors, as a reliable network ensures smoother coordination and delivery of the project.

Technology Adoption

The construction industry is evolving, with technology playing an increasingly vital role. Discuss with the general contractor their use of construction management software, scheduling tools, and other technology that can streamline project communication, documentation, and monitoring.

Compatibility & Trust

A successful partnership between a client and a general contractor is built on mutual trust and compatibility. When deciding on a contractor you should assess whether their communication styles, work ethics, and values align with yours. A harmonious working relationship is crucial for a successful project.

Hiring a general contractor is a pivotal decision. The right contractor brings expertise, experience, and leadership to the table, ensuring that the construction project is executed seamlessly. By considering factors such as experience, reputation, communication skills, and financial stability, you can make an informed choice that sets the stage for a successful and fruitful collaboration.