Building a house or renovating one is not something to be taken lightly. It requires a great deal of knowledge, experience, and organization. If you hire the wrong general contractor, you could find yourself over budget, or worse, you could have significant issues with your home in the long run. That's why you must research several companies before you hire anyone. Construction relies heavily on word-of-mouth, so ask your friends and neighbors who built their houses. Another "digital" word-of-mouth is reading reviews. You can find the best general contractor reviews on Houzz and Google. It's also a great idea to ask architects or design teams who their preferred contractor is.
We know you've probably watched a lot of HGTV and thought, "that looks easy," or "I bet I can do that." But there's much more to the process than they show. You will not likely have the time to oversee and manage the numerous subcontractors needed for any building or home improvement. A general contractor with experience should be able to manage all the moving parts of home improvement or building. These may include subcontractors, inspection approvals, permits, and any other building requirements that may arise.
That's why at SKYLINE, we want to help you understand how to find the right general contractor in seven easy steps and tell you why we think we're the right company for the job. Here are seven steps we would like you to take to find the best contractor for the job:
Think about the needs of your project
Cost is not the only factor you should consider. While important, there's much more you should think about before selecting your contractor. For example, does the contractor specialize in what you need? Some contractors only do remodeling. They may not build new homes. Be sure to ask your contractor what they specialize in if anything. For example, we specialize in remodeling and new construction. However, many companies don't do both.
Ask yourself several questions so you can find the right company for your project. Will you be remodeling a kitchen or bedrooms? Will it be one room or the entire house? Will you be building a two-story home or a three-story home? Do you need someone that does landscaping and hardscaping as well? What about the materials that you want? Are you leaning towards a concrete-block home, or would you prefer a wood-frame home? You will want to have this very clear before you contact anyone so that you can outline your specific needs with your contractor. This way, you will find someone that specializes in your needs. For instance, if you want to build an outdoor guesthouse, but your contractor has only done outdoor patios, this is not the right man for the job.
Ensure you also ask them for a gallery of their past projects and discuss these with them. Any good contractor will have past projects to show you and will be proud to display them. You don't have to search too deep for ours, you can find them right here in our Recently Completed Projects section.
You also want to keep in mind if they have a design team on staff if that's in your needs. At SKYLINE we have architects and designers on staff ready to design the house of your dreams.
Obtain Multiple Bids
The first step to any home improvement or building is to obtain bids. We suggest you get quotes from three different contractors. It is standard in the industry, and we won't be offended if you do this. Don't just talk to the contractors on the phone. You want to meet with them in person and explain your plans for your new home or do a walkthrough if you are remodeling. It may seem like a waste of time to do this three times, but trust us, you don't want to leave anything to chance. A lot can get lost in phone conversations that may prove problematic as the project progresses. Without a thorough walkthrough or meeting, your estimate may not be accurate, and you will find yourself with several change orders that didn't need to occur.
It wouldn't hurt to provide the contractor with a detailed list of all changes you want to make to the home if it's a remodel. Once you receive all three bids, compare them and what each has to offer. Make sure they each include what you asked for and that nothing is left out. If one bid is uncharacteristically high or low, ask the contractor. You don't want to exclude them just yet. They may have seen or missed something that the other contractors didn't.
We have a team of professionals that can estimate anything from complex projects to small remodels. Our fees are competitive, and we deliver outstanding results.
Licensed and Insured
This step is an important one. You must check to ensure that your chosen contractor is licensed and insured. You don't want to hire someone, pay a ton of money, and get ripped off, scammed, or even sued. If the contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for potential injuries of subcontractors or workers. A contractor's insurance does not only cover bodily harm or injury. It also covers property damage.
Unfortunately, there are contractors out there that claim to be licensed and insured but are not. To avoid disasters, before hiring your contractor, ask them for their credentials in the interview process. Double-check with your state and local government to confirm that the contractor is licensed and has no disputes. Once the contractor provides you with their license number, you can input it on this website. You'll know immediately if the number they provided belongs to their and if there are any issues with it.
Communication is Key
During the interview, you want to take note of how they communicate. Do they answer your calls or prefer to text or email? Ensure they are not slow to respond and happily answer all your inquiries. Unless you are not in a rush, you want to make sure that they are on top of your calls and open about the information you need. Their communication style and willingness to impress during the interview are an indication of what you may experience while the project is ongoing.
Something that may seem like a small matter is their style of communication. Communication may not be as crucial if you're remodeling. However, if you are looking to build a new home or remodel an entire house, this may take months to years. Make sure you connect with the general contractor you choose. Or else the process may be a long and arduous one.
Consider the General Contractor's Availability
An important step, and one that most homeowners don't think about, is checking availability. You find a contractor that fits your budget and specializes in your needs. They are licensed and insured and are excellent communicators. When you go to sign the contract, they tell you they won't be available until next year. They have too many projects, and you will have to wait. Can you live with that? They may be pricier because of their limited availability. Although, a contractor that is in high demand tends to be good at their job. They may be worth the wait if your project is not urgent. You want to keep availability in mind and ensure that if your project is a priority to you, then you may have to choose someone else.
Meet the Team and Subcontractor
No matter the size of your project, you will be dealing with the contractor's team regularly. Be it subcontractors, designers, and such. Make sure you ask your general contractor if you can meet their team and who they would choose for your project. Meeting their team doesn't only include the immediate people that work directly with them. Subcontractors are included in this list as well. You may have to use plumbers, electricians, and more. You will want to do the same due diligence with your subcontractors as you did with your general contractor.
At SKYLINE we have a team of fully certified professionals. We are fueled by our commitment to excellence and go the extra mile to ensure clients are satisfied with our work. We expect the same from our subcontractors
Check reviews and References
The final step is to perform a deep dive into all reviews found online. You want to find everything that you can before you sign a contract. Request a list of references too. Any reputable contractor will have testimonials from previous happy clients, and they will love to brag about them.
We can provide a plethora of happy clients who can sing our praises.
Ready to Choose your General Contractor?
After taking every step mentioned, it's time to choose your contractor. Contact us if you want precision, punctuality, and professionalism in San Francisco and the greater Sacramento area. We want to hear from you.