Hey guys, Bill Hauser here with 7 easy tips on how you can find the right General Contractor for your upcoming residential home improvement project…quickly.
Finding the right general contractor for your upcoming job does not have to be as daunting as it’s made out to be. If you’ve read other articles on ‘how to find the right contractor,’ you’ll see that most of them suggest you do a-million-and-one things before considering hiring any general contractors.
Most of these ‘online experts’ will tell you to search the National Contracting Associations for registered general contractors in your area. They’ll also suggest you call up local building inspectors and nearby lumberyards for advice on which contractors are reputable. Along with that most of these online articles also revolve around researching and contacting former clients of each contractor and even visiting a current job site to see your prospective contractor in action. Lastly, they say, before you form any agreements with your contractor, set up strict payment schedules and mention every minor detail about the project in writing.
While all of the above advice is great on paper, it falls short when it comes down to how things are handled in the real world, for example there are over 30 different general contractors in Philadelphia city alone, and there is no one dependable and accurate database that can be used to compare and choose the contractor that suits you the most.
I know for a fact (after working in the contracting industry for 30+ years), that my customers just don’t have the time to do each of these things (especially for small-to-mid-sized residential projects) before hiring a contractor.
Thankfully, with the wonderful advent of the internet, there is an easier way for you to find the right contractor for your upcoming project. But before I continue I would like to introduce myself, my name is Bill Hauser and I am a general contractor in Philadelphia with over 30 years of experience in the general contracting field with thousands of satisfied customers. There is no project that I have not yet done whether it be residential or commercial, and I’ve been in this profession long enough to understand my customer’s needs and requirements.
With my extensive knowledge in this field, I have created this little guide to help you out in finding the right contractor for your construction job using modern day methods, quickly!
The 7 Easy Steps in finding the right contractor for your construction job:
1. Search Google For Local general contractors
When you are trying to find the right general contractor for your upcoming job, you have a lot of options. You can search through the classifieds of your local newspaper. You can search all of the online directories (Angie’s List, Prime Buyers Report, Yellow book, etc…). I, however, think the best way to find a general contractor, is through a simple Google Search. (If you’re looking for contractors in Philadelphia, just go to Google.com on your browser and search for general contractors in Philadelphia)
As of 2015, there are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google. And, if a contractor in the modern age does not have a website or any presence online, it should be a red flag to you. Do you want a contractor who is up with the trends and trying to make things easy on their customers, or do you want someone still running their business like it is 1990?
2. Check Out Their Websites
Once you have completed your Google Search, choose the 3 contractors that stand out the most to you and visit their websites. When looking through their website, it is important to look for transparency. If your contractor has a nice website and puts all of their contact and work information on their website, you can be more confident that they believe in the work they do and have nothing to hide. In short, a nice portfolio with a strong year by year track record of construction work done by them (with pictures) is something that you should look for.
3. Look For References
Listen, guys, you want a contractor who makes things easy for you, right? Well, every contractor knows that the number 1 thing people look for before hiring them is references. So, on your contractor’s website, look for references. If your contractor doesn’t have any references on their website, it could mean they are hiding something. It’s even better if they put the actual names of their references (and photos). This shows transparency and confidence in the quality of their work.
4. Look For Years of Experience
On a contractor’s website, they should be very open about how many years’ experience they have. If it seems they are hiding the number of years they’ve been in business, it is a huge red flag. Moreover, if you are looking for general contractors that will be working on multiple big or highly-unique projects, then it is best that they have at least 25 years+ of experience. Another thing that comes with experience is recognition; local residents in your area should be able to confirm the experience that a contractor is claiming on their website.
5. Phone Interviews & Face-to Face
Once you feel you have narrowed down your search to the two most transparent and experienced contracting companies (that actually do the type of work you need done), it’s time for a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. It is generally a good idea to ask if they have done similar work before, but this should be explained on the website. You can also ask for suggestions and take an estimate but….
6. Don’t Let Price Fool You
Price cutting is very, very common in the contracting industry. But, I look at contracting as surgery being done to your house. Would you hire a surgeon simply based on how low of a price he charges you to cut your face open?
No. You would hire the surgeon who has the most experience and one who can get the job done right the first time around. Guys, the work you’re about to get done on your home will be there for a long time. So, find someone you trust to get the job done right. Don’t pinch pennies if you want great, long-lasting work.
7. Use Your Gut
As contractors, we are in the business of trust. When someone hires me for a general contracting job (I operate as a general contractor in Philadelphia as I mentioned before), they trust me to complete a big task (usually with no prior experience with me before). So, ultimately, it is up to the client to take all of the information gathered through steps 1-6 and to form a strong gut feeling surrounding the contractors they are considering.
1. Use Google
2. Check Out Some Websites
3. Look for References
4. Look for Years of Experience
5. Phone Interviews and Face-to-Face
6. Don’t Let Price Fool You
7. Go With Your Gut
Now, Go Do It!
Now, while all of this information is fresh in your mind, I want you to take action on what you’ve just learned. I want you to go to Google and type in ‘.’ When you look through the search results, there will be Advertisements that pop up on the top, then (below those ads) there will be map results and below the map will be the actual organic search results that you should be looking for.
If you follow the 7 simple steps I have laid out in this article, I am confident you will:
1. Find a trustworthy, skilled, and reasonably-priced general contractor that will get your job done right and on time.
2. Avoid becoming a character the next horror story having to do with a contractor stealing your deposit money, leaving your job unfinished, and charging you for ‘extra expenses’ that add up to 3-times the initial quoted price or producing low-quality work.
Remember, a contractor should be making this process as easy as possible for you. And a contractor who is reputable should be transparent (and aware of the current technologies).
I hope this article was helpful to you!