General contracting is a term used to describe the supervisory tasks of general contractors. This can be a company or an individual—a general contractor responsible for supervising and building a project designed by another person.
In short, we can say general contracting involves the coordination and supervision of all the aspects of a renovation or construction project. Typically, this includes securing the required permits or approvals for the project and scheduling, hiring, and supervising the work done by subcontractors like electricians, roofing contractors, plumbers, and painters.
The general contracting work goes beyond managing a project’s hands-on tasks. Anyone working in this industry is responsible for the entire job site—meaning they must have liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Therefore, if your property is damaged or a construction worker is injured, the general contracting company will be responsible. In short, the person supervising your construction project will incur financial liabilities if something goes wrong.
A general contracting company ensures that all the construction work is done properly, in a manner that does not void any guarantees or warranties issues on the materials used. Thus, the people working under the company must be qualified to install roofing, windows, siding, and major appliances in a specified manner—otherwise, the manufacturer might not honor the guarantee. When a construction project is under the supervision of a reputable general contracting company, you can be assured that the manufacturer’s guidelines will be followed.
Lastly, it’s the responsibility of a general contracting company to source the required supplies and workspace. Also, the company handles major projects like cleaning up and disposing of all the construction debris. In addition, they ensure that all construction workers wear protective gear for their safety and to protect your property.
Choosing the right general contracting company
When planning a construction or renovation project, choosing the right general contracting company for the job is an essential step of your planning process. With that said, there are a few things that you must do to make sure that you choose the right general contracting company. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right general contracting company
Get multiple estimates
Here, you must talk to different general contracting companies—at least three, and ask for written estimates. When you get the estimates, take your time to check the work methods, building materials, and timelines, among other factors that might vary depending on the general contracting company. However, you need to be wary of a company that provides too low or too high estimates.
Reputation and work habits
Ideally, the general contracting company you choose should have the experience and expertise you are looking for. Besides, the company should have the required licenses and permits to tackle your project.
Therefore, if the company checks all these boxes, check its reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Here, you need to check if there are any complaints against the company. If you find any complaints, it’s time to choose another company.
Also, it’s important to note that some general contracting companies have specialist contractors while others have generalists. Therefore, ensure that you choose a company with the right contractors for your project. Besides, it’s essential to take your time to review the company’s work firsthand. Make sure you check the following three things:
- Quality of materials used
- Consistent client satisfaction
Also, it’s important to see whether the company has the required professionalism.
- Does the company return your calls on time?
- Are meeting and appointment times kept?
- Does the company’s dress code or vehicles reflect cleanliness and pride?
Please note that the right general contracting company should have skilled, trustworthy, experienced, and professional contractors.
Insurance and bonding
A reputable general contracting company must be insured and bonded. Therefore, you need to ask for a certificate of insurance (COI)—this should have the insurance company’s name, policy number, and the limit the contracting company carries.
If possible, talk to a representative from the insurance company to verify the validity of the coverage. Never hire a general contracting company that does not have the right insurance coverage.
According to the contractors at the general contracting company, AFS General Contracting, always make sure that you discuss your budget and payment options with your contractor before signing the contract. Every general contracting company has a different pricing structure.
However, never pay your general contractor in cash, regardless of the price. Pay with a credit card or check for smaller construction or renovation projects or arrange for financing if you have a large project. If a general contractor asks you to pay in cash, there’s a possibility you are dealing with a scam. Nevertheless, you need to note that down payments are typical. However, this should be a small percentage of the project’s total cost. Be wary of anyone who asks you to make lump-sum payments before the project starts.
Carefully read the contract detail
Check your contract to ensure that it has your project’s start and completion dates. Also, it should contain information on relevant building fees and permits (usually handled by the general contracting company, but your legal responsibility. The contract should also have a detailed description of the services and products that the general contractor must provide, payment and subcontracting terms, and the penalties of default by either party.