Tips For Homeowners Hiring a General Contractor
1 | Decide on allowances & fixtures BEFORE the project begins.
As a homeowner, it is important to choose your materials prior to the beginning of a renovation. Homeowners that don’t “sleep on” there design choices may come to regret the final product. The unique backsplash that you fall in love with on Monday night while scrolling through Pinterest might seem less appealing the following morning. Take time to pick you materials, and allow the materials to cement in your mind.
Most renovation estimates have a line-item called “an allowance”. This allowance is a General Contractor’s (GC’s) guestimation, NOT a solid number. Depending on the hardware, sinks, or appliances that you wind up choosing, this allowance number may be far lower than you wind up spending. Make it a goal that by the time a you receive the estimate, your allowance is already be established.
2 | Establish balanced communication.
The relationship between a GC and a homeowner is very important. A good General Contractor will view the relationship as a partnership, not an antagonizing competition. A good GC will also keep lines of communication open. That being said, there is no need to meet with your GC three times a day. You’re GC is not out to take advantage of you, nor is he/she in the business of ruining your home!
If you are halfway through a renovation you still struggle to trust your GC, then you have may have hired the wrong person! Only hire a GC that you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable with a GC on the initial bid meeting, then either discuss your concerns on the spot or go with someone else. Don’t play a 30-day-renovation-game biting your fingernails, wondering if you’ve made a mistake!
3 | Track change orders & take good notes!
With every project, there are unexpected twists and turns. If you have good GC, they should keep track of all the change orders that take place through the duration of your project. A GC should always have you sign change order forms as soon as something unexpected occurs! But if you have accidentally hired a disorganized GC, take good notes as changes in design occur.
As cheesy as it may sound, It is also helpful to make a personal journal throughout the entire renovation process. Take note of (1) things that went well, (2) things that didn’t go well, and (3) things you will do differently next time. Even if you have a horrible remodeling experience, chances are you will go through another home remodel at some point in your lifetime- so take good notes! Don’t make the same mistakes twice.
4 | Give praise where praise is due.
If the GC’s crew is on time, the manager stays on budget, and everything is communicated efficiently- let them your general contractor know! A big investment in your home’s value should include a healthy investment of feedback.