6 Tips on Hiring a Trusted DC General Contractor

Working with a skilled and qualified general contractor will yield excellent results for your DC home improvement project. Carefully planning all facets of the job, including hiring and working with subcontractors, is not something that an inexperienced person should do alone.

When it comes time to hire a contractor, do you know what skills and work experience to look for? If you answered no, then there's a chance that you might select the wrong contractor for the job, leaving yourself open to being taken advantage of. 

Hiring a reliable DC general contractor to oversee your next job shouldn't be difficult, yet for those who have never involved themselves in a home improvement project, the process can be mentally taxing. Especially if the project is large and time-consuming.

So to help you out with your next home improvement project, we've compiled a list of 6 things that you should look for when you seek out a DC general contractor for your next job. 

1. References and recommendations carry tons of weight. Because a general contractor's work is valued by their output, asking around for tips on who to hire is a great place to begin. Once you exhaust family and friends, consider consulting the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) website for further information.

2. Speak over the phone with your chosen list of contractors and ask questions that pertain directly to your job. It is at this point that you should ask them for direct references to verify their work; inquire about other responsibilities that they may have at the same time as your project, and found out about their chosen list sub-contractors. Verifying reliability and visibility are both important at this stage of the process.

3. Ask your short list of contractors to bid on your job. While the money that contractors charge isn't always a good indicator of quality, it will help you narrow down your choices further. Just ensure that you are supplying each of your selected contractors with identical packets to bid on for consistency. All bids should be in writing and have an itemized list of material charges. Remember, you want fixed bids to start.

4. Discuss payment dates and how you will make them. How a contractor wants their payments can sometimes determine their ethics. Try and avoid contractors who ask for half of the money up front for large jobs, as it can be a sign that the contractor is in financial dire straights. For most large projects, experts agree that 50% up front is too high, and 10-20% is adequate. Negotiate these details before signing a contract.

5. Once your list is narrowed down to few contractors, it's time to make a decision and sign a contract. While most contractors have a standard contract, you may want to revise it further with any particular plans or details that you would like extra. Ensure that the contract has all the basic elements, like start and stop times, how to handle charge orders, insurance liabilities, and whether there will be any penalties.

6. Get all the facts on how you and your contractor will handle subcontractors. Many smaller projects are best left to subcontractors. These subcontractors are either be hired by you or supplied by your contractor from a trusted list. If you are in charge of hiring subcontractors, manage it exactly as you did when you hired a contractor, and follow the same steps. 

Because you will be working closely with your contractor on all of the project details and workload, it is incredibly important that you choose someone who you can trust and who has years of experience working with homeowners on projects.

For more information on how we can help you with your next home improvement project, please contact us today for details. 

STS is consistently ranked in the Top 500 remodeling contractors in the country as ranked by Remodeling Magazine, and is well positioned to compete in the Washington, DC metropolitan area residential remodeling.