How to Select the Right General Contractor for Home Construction or Remodeling Projects

If you’re building a new home or are about to remodel your current home, you’ve got a lot of big decisions to make—from design choices and budgetary concerns to everything in between. One of those “in between” decisions is one of the most important issues you’ll face in the design/build process: selecting your home improvement contractor or new custom home builder!

Read on for RemodelWerks’ tips on how to select the right home improvement remodeler or general contractor for your renovation or custom home build:

1) Proper licensing—Make sure the contractor you hire someone who has the right credentials to back up the work he or she proposes to do. Under Massachusetts’ law, one can only obtain a construction supervisor’s license, known as the CSL, with five years of demonstrated experience in building construction or design and upon satisfactory completion of the CSL exam. If someone claims they’re CSL-certified but they don’t have the license to back it up with, that’s a red flag worth looking into!

You can always verify a CSL license yourself by visiting the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety
License Verification Site. Why not get some practice at doing this by looking up RemodelWerks Owner Joe Kupstas’ CSL? You’ll see it’s active as it should be!

2) What are others saying about the design/build firm or general contractor—Do you have friends or family who have used a specific general contractor or design/build firm before? Did they have any complaints about the quality, budget or timeliness of the project? Don’t know anyone who’s used the contractor before—no problem! Any reputable home improvement contractor or home builder should also many references who can attest to their work. Remember: All you have to do is ask! And, as general rule, ask for at least three references that you will follow through with to verify their satisfaction with the work that’s been completed.

3) Make sure the home improvement or custom home builder you choose is fully insured—both in terms of workers’ compensation coverage and for liability. Don’t be shy, either: As a best practice, request a copy of the current insurance certificates and review the coverage amounts to ensure that given the scope of your project those coverage limits will be sufficient to cover the property in the event of a loss. It’s not worth the financial risk for you as the homeowner to assume the risk in the event that the firm you’ve hired has let their general liability or workers’ compensation policies lapse.

4) Have the design/build or custom home building company that you hire apply for the building permits that are necessary to move forward with the project. Down the line, if something goes wrong and needs correcting to bring the project up to code, you don’t want to be stuck as the one liable for fixing it. A reputable contractor should be well versed at pulling all appropriate permits before the work is started. After all, it’s their reputation on the line with the building inspector! And, while we’re on the issue of building inspectors, why not call the building inspector in your town to verify whether there have been any past permitting issues with the company you’re thinking about hiring?

5) Give immense weight to the one who always seems to knows what’s right in the end—you! If you have an uneasy feeling about a contractor, trust your instinct. It’s better to bail out before you sign on the dotted line rather than waiting for a mishap during the design or construction phase to realize you made a mistake in hiring someone for such an important residential remodeling or construction project.

6) Get the terms in writing—It’s fine to go back and forth verbally with the design/build firm or general contractor about what will and won’t be included in the price. But, it’s imperative that you finalize the terms in writing—this can potentially save you from a lot of headaches down the line.

7) Pay in installments—If the contractor says he or she wants payment in full up front, head for the hills! It is the general industry standard to have payments broken out into thirds—with the first third due at the contract signing, another third due at the mid-point of the job, and the final third due upon satisfactory completion of the job.

Once you’ve settled on a contractor, be sure to read RemodelWerks’ tips on the conversations you should have before they start their building or remodeling work.

Do you have questions about selecting a new home construction or home remodeling firm for your next project? Please contact RemodelWerks today for your free, no-obligation consultation. We are the premier 3-D residential and commercial design/build firm in Massachusetts, including Central Massachusetts, Metro West and the Boston area. Our goal is to provide every client with exceptional customer service and a superior five year guarantee on all of our work. We are passionate about every aspect of the design/build process, and we have the credentials, insurance and professional experience necessary to successfully complete your job, and if you have questions on any of those things, all you have to do is ask!

We urge you to check out our testimonials and photo gallery featuring an extensive sampling of the whole home remodeling and new construction projects we have completed across the area.

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