Managing Construction

Quick Tip: Hiring a General Contractor

The Bidding Process Is Telling
By now, most homeowners know that you need to get quotes from several contractors before deciding which one to hire for your job. But how do you know who you can trust? While the numbers are useful, the way contractors bid for your job can actually help you decide how trustworthy they are.

You Get What You Pay For
First, beware of low-ball estimates or special discounts for today only. Often, a contractor who bids much lower than everyone else either doesn't understand what the job entails or doesn't plan to do it right.

Minimize Upfront Pay
A reputable contractor can get subcontractors and materials to start most jobs without your money, so be very wary if a contractor asks for more than a 10 to 20 percent deposit up front or requires payment in cash.

Get It in Writing
A verbal quote isn't good enough. A good contractor will always be happy to give you a written quote itemizing labor and material costs, as well as references you can check.

Check References
Always verify the contact information you're given to be sure it's a legitimate business, and follow up on those references. If in doubt, you can check for any past problems with your city's building department.