If you’re planning a gut renovation of your home, you should take time to carefully choose a general contractor capable of fulfilling the task with ease and professionalism. It may take you a few days or more to find one that you’re happy with, but rest assured this will be time well spent, as nothing can derail a renovation faster than a general contractor who isn’t up to the task. Be sure to check their qualifications and verify their credentials before signing any contracts, and perhaps most importantly, try to follow your gut based upon your dealings with them.
With a gut renovation taking anything from a couple of months (for smaller homes) right up to a year (for bigger projects), you’re going to need a general contractor who can do everything listed below, or you could be putting the entire renovation at risk:
Listen and listen well
This of course works both ways, but ultimately, the renovation belongs to you, and your general contractor is being paid by you to carry out the work. With this in mind, your general contractor should listen carefully to your needs, thoughts and opinions (as well as your demands!), and ensure that they have a clear understanding of what it is that you want.
One indication of a poor general contractor, is one who talks about their own accomplishments instead of talking about your project, and if they don’t ask enough questions of you and the renovation, this may not bode well.
Behave like a consultant
In many ways, a good general contractor can be viewed as a consultant; someone who helps you establish your ideas for the renovation, and as it progresses, give you more detailed information about any potential challenges and how best to address them. If a general contractor doesn’t even listen to your ideas, or does so but writes them off without giving a reasonable explanation as to why, your project will never hit the ground running, and you may even end up with a renovation that you’re not happy with.
Renovations can be incredibly disruptive, but a general contractor who doesn’t arrive at site on time, or who doesn’t organize their team in such a way that the project runs smoothly with minimal interruptions and delays, will only make things worse, and in the long run, end up costing you a lot more time and money than you had planned for. Punctuality from your general contractor is important for a whole host of reasons, not least because you need to plan your life around the renovation, and if not staying in the property while work is underway, you’ll need to know how long to arrange alternative accommodation for.
While some delays and absences may be perfectly acceptable, if tardiness becomes a regular pattern, or delays in carrying out certain tasks can’t be readily explained, it might be time to search for another contractor to complete the project.
There are plenty of fantastic general contractors out there, and there are probably just a smattering of unprofessional ones who give the others a bad name. Take the time to find a contractor that you can establish a sound professional relationship with, and your renovation stands a much stronger chance of being a success.
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