When you’re looking to remodel a kitchen or start a construction project of any kind, it’s essential that you hire the right team. The main component of this team is the general contractor you hire. General contractors are individuals who can coordinate and directly supervise every facet of a remodeling or construction project. No matter the scope of the project, a general contractor should be able to handle all of the duties that are necessary while the construction process is ongoing.
Because a general contractor is involved with every step of construction, they perform an ample amount of work while on the job. Some of the tasks that they perform include obtaining the right building permits, hiring and scheduling different subcontractors, and overseeing the extensive work that’s performed by each subcontractor. Along with the more hands-on tasks, general contractors are responsible for the entirety of the worksite, which means that they hold liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. Keep in mind that general contractors must secure the appropriate workspace for the job while also ordering all of the necessary materials that are set to be used throughout construction.
Finding a local general contractor may be more difficult than you anticipate. No matter where you live, it’s very likely that there are a large number of different general contractors for you to select from. As such, it’s important that you do your homework to make sure that your final hiring decision is the right one. Without doing your due diligence, you could make the mistake of hiring a contractor who doesn’t have the right experience for the job or one who has yet to obtain the correct insurance that will protect your investment.
Before you hire a general contractor, there are many factors that you should take into consideration during your search. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that the general contractor of your choosing offers all of the services that will be needed during your renovation or construction project. It’s also important that you speak with the general contractors you’re thinking about hiring to determine if they would be a good fit as leaders of the project. If you want to find the best general contractor in the vicinity, you should take your time to perform research on each prospective contractor. This article goes into detail about what it takes to find the ideal general contractor for your project.
When Should I Hire a General Contractor?
General contractors aren’t necessary for every remodeling and construction project. If the project is small enough, hiring a general contractor would only serve to add to the overall cost of the project at hand. If you believe that the project can be completed in one week or less, it’s recommended that you hire a subcontractor or handyman as opposed to a general contractor.
The opposite is true if you believe that the project will take at least two weeks to be completed. At this point, a general contractor is likely needed to oversee the entire project. When the project requires building permits, multiple professionals, and at least one inspection, you should hire a general contractor.
To understand how much work can go into a remodeling or construction project, let’s take a look at the kitchen remodeling process. For a major remodel that involves changing the entire design of the kitchen, you would likely need to install a kitchen island, knock down a wall, add a sink, upgrade flooring, implement a bay window, and enhance the lighting system in the area. All of this work requires window and tile installers, painters, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. You’ll also need to obtain all of the necessary materials that will be used throughout the project. Because of the complexity involved with this process, it’s best to hire a general contractor who can oversee all of the subcontractors and any extra tasks that must be done.
Before you hire a general contractor, it’s important to understand that these individuals can be expensive to hire. While the cost of hiring can differ from contractor to contractor, you’ll typically be tasked with paying around 10-20 percent of the total project costs to the contractor. While this might seem expensive to you, keep in mind that general contractors are able to obtain better pricing on materials and subcontractor hires, which significantly reduces the actual amount that you need to pay.
The timeline for a remodeling or construction project depends on the amount of work that needs to be done and the efficiency of the contractor you’ve hired. For a major kitchen remodel, you should expect the project to take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to be completed. Larger construction projects may take upwards of 3-9 months. Make sure that the contractor you’re hiring provides you with an estimate of the construction timeline, which gives you something to reference in the event that the project takes longer to be completed than you agreed on. A good rule of thumb for a construction project is that a general contractor doesn’t need to be hired if the project will be completed in one week or less.
Contractor Vs. Subcontractor
When you’re hiring for a remodel or construction project, you’ll have the ability to hire general contractors and subcontractors. However, these are two entirely different jobs that handle completely different processes throughout a construction project. General contractors are designated to oversee the entirety of a project, which involves turning building plans into a wholly realized building or room. The general contractor you hire will also obtain building permits, hire subcontractors, schedule inspections, and accrue materials for the project.
On the other hand, subcontractors are professionals who are typically hired by general contractors to complete a specific portion of the project. Most subcontractors specialize in one area of construction, which can include drywall, plumbing, painting, HVAC, and flooring. While you will likely interact with a general contractor on a number of occasions throughout the project, you shouldn’t have any interaction with subcontractors. The general contractor will supervise and pay the subcontractors. Subcontractors are qualified to perform any work that they are licensed for.
Different Classes of General Contractors in California
There are three separate classes of general contractors that you can look into hiring for your construction project, which include Class A, Class B, and Class C contractors. Keep in mind that these types of general contractors are labeled as such based on the license that a contractor obtains in California. A Class A contractor can effectively carry out large-scale, knowledge-based construction projects. These projects typically involve the construction of dams, parking lots, stadiums, bridges, and similar structures.
As for Class B contractors, they can perform construction on residential houses and commercial buildings. These contractors can build an entire home from the ground up and are commonly tasked with performing major renovations and home additions. Class C contractors have very specialized roles that are similar to subcontractor roles. Contractors who are specializing in asbestos removal, HVAC units, insulation, or fireproofing would need to obtain a Class C license in order to operate out of California.
How to Hire A General Contractor Near You
When you want to hire a general contractor near you, there are some simple steps that you should take to make sure that you hire the right contractor for the job. The initial step in this process involves performing an online search for reputable contractors near you, which can be done with tools like HomeAdvisor.
From here, you should conduct extensive research, which can include an informal background check. This kind of background check is as easy as looking at the online reviews and ratings for the contractors you’re considering. This research will allow you to determine if the contractor is reputable, which can help you create a shortlist of contractors who may be right for the job.
Each contractor should have state-level qualifications and extensive work experience in performing the type of project that you’re taking on. The necessary qualifications include having a Class A, B, or C license. If you’re thinking about performing an extensive kitchen remodel, you should only consider general contractors who’ve managed projects of a similar size and scope.
At this point, it’s time to interview any general contractor on your shortlist, which can be done by phone. Make sure that you ask any question you have about the work that needs to be done and the experience that the contractor has. The answers you receive should give you a good idea if the contractor in question is a good fit for your specific project. If ever the contractor is vague or doesn’t seem to be able to explain something well, it’s possible that they don’t have the expertise or knowledge that you believe they do.
Any references that you obtain during the interview should be checked to make sure that they are legitimate. If you receive multiple quotes and bids for the project, it’s important that you compare them. While you shouldn’t necessarily choose the contractor who offers the best price, it’s also essential that you don’t pay substantially more money than you should for the contractor’s expertise. Comparing multiple bids allows you to identify which ones are fair and which ones should be disregarded.
Now that you’ve done your research, conducted interviews, checked references, and compared quotes, you should have a good idea of which general contractor you should hire. All that’s left is to sign the contract. Before you do so, review every detail of the contract to make sure that it includes all of the necessary information and doesn’t contain any small print. Once you’ve hired a general contractor, you should be ready to move forward with the construction process.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.