Hiring A General Contractor Do’s and Don’ts


In the world of Real Estate a great General Contractor is PRICELESS!  Here are a few tips on vetting a good one.

The first thing to truly understand is when you buy a home in the name of your business YOU NEED A GC.  As an investment company your not allowed pull your own permits.  You must pull permits to properly present a good quality product for resale.  If you buy a home for $60k in January and try to sell it in May for $150k and didn’t pull one permit …. your buyer’s lender may question the project and you could lose a sale.

Do – Meet with your contractor well before the project starts.  If you don’t have a regular GC get a bid from several.

Do – An experienced GC will be able to walk a project and give you a verbal approximation on cost.  This shows to me that they are confident in their trade and have some experience.  You of course want to give them time to sharpen the pencil and give you a bid in writing.  A written bid should take no longer than a week.

Don’t – Tell a GC how much money you have to spend on a project …. they will spend it ALL!!  Provide a very detailed scope of work you’d like done.  If you communicate clearly in the beginning you have less drastic changes in the project cost at the end.

Do – Pay close attention to how responsive they communicate.  Do they respond promptly to texts and emails?  Do they pick up your calls or return them in a reasonable time frame?  If you have a project that costs money everyday and your GC won’t return calls …. It’s literally torture!!

Don’t – Hire a “GC” that you can’t find onhttps://secure.doli.state.mn.us/lookup/licensing.aspx  Please Note this link is for MN only.  If your GC is running a proper business you will be able to look up their business and current standing with the Department of Labor and Industry. Any sub contractors the GC uses should also be “registered” with the state.  (This website is a wealth of info for consumers as well as a resource if you have problems with a GC and need financial compensation.)  If a GC and their sub contractors are registered with the state than you’ll also know that they have the required liability insurance.  THIS IS VITAL!  You want to be protected financially from someone falling off a ladder above a staircase while painting!! (real sub pic J)

Do – Get a contract in writing!  I don’t care if this is a family friend or someone you’ve done a ton of business with.  Read the contract carefully!!!  Make sure it touches on a timeframe for work completion, budget, payments, communication expectations and cleanliness.  Confirm you have a painless path to cancel a contract if reasonable expectations aren’t met.  Make sure any contract used is fair and balanced.

Take care of your contractor.  Pay them on time and be appreciative.  Finding a good one is once again …. PRICELESS!!!  You hear horror stories about people having bad experiences following these tips can protect you from some of the biggies!  We all learn from each project.  The contractors our business use’s now are not the ones we started with. Be patient, It will take time to build a dream team that fits your business and expectations.  Monica

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