Hiring a contractor is the most vital step a business owner will take when building your next facility or renovating it. The key to hiring an efficient and experienced contractor lies in your ability to ask the right questions before you hire a general contractor.

How to select a General Contractor

Here are some questions you must ask when choosing a general contractor.

Can you give a written quotation with the cost breakdown?

A written quotation is the most crucial part of your contractor relationship. Your quote must highlight the costs of labor and materials and should include an estimated timeframe for project completion.

“What is the timeframe for project completion?”

Be sure to make a contractor aware of your essential deadlines before signing a contract. Ask the potential contractor to provide an estimated project schedule in writing.

“How long have you been in the industry?”

Experience is vital in the contracting industry; at IDC, we have more than 40 years of experience. You should seek contractors with at least ten years of proven industry experience. Be careful of new contractors with low-ball quotes if you hire a contractor with little experience before realizing the cost overruns due to lack of experience would have cost you more.

What is the reputation of the contractor?

Excellent reputations goes along way; ask previous clients their experience.

“Will subcontractors be involved?”

We recommend finding out who will be involved in your project. If possible, ask for a brief meeting with all the parties involved.

“How do you hire and qualify your sub-contractors?”

Subcontractors are a critical reflection of a contractor when being represented on their sites. Will subcontractors be professional in appearance and attitude, or will they have low communication ability and lack good customer service skills?

“What health and safety protocols does the contractor have?”

Safety considerations are critical when hiring a contractor. Ensure that your contractor and all workers have the necessary PPE. Be sure to requestOSHA 30 from all employees.

Do you have references from previous projects?”

Do not just ask for references in your area. Make sure you reach out by phone and ask the customers to tell you the strengths and weaknesses of the contractor under evaluation.

“What are your payment terms?”

Be sure to clarify payment arrangements before signing a contract.

“Is your business licensed and insured?”

Choose a contractor that is licensed and insured to avoid potential legal issues. Does your candidate have liability insurance?

“Do you offer a Post Construction Warranty Service?”

Having a contractor who continues to serve their clients for years well after the construction is completed and the warranties have expired, a great sign of a strong client/contractor relationship.

“Why should I choose IDC over other contractors?” 

Allow contractors to tell you what gives them an edge over the competition. Be wary of contractors who are unable to provide any concrete details in their response. A contractor’s answer to this question will often help you finalize your hiring decision.