When hiring a general contractor for a home improvement job the home owner is putting their trust and home in the contractor’s hands.  It is important to understand what a contractor will be doing for the home owner. A good working relationship with a contractor will make any home improvement project more efficient.

Initial Meeting

A general contractor will evaluate the project at the initial meeting.  A general contractor will arrange a time to meet with a customer at their home or at a mutually convenient location. They will discuss the project and evaluate the objectives and expectations of the customer’s proposed project.

Proposal

He will then propose a bid for the cost of materials, labor and overhead cost. The general contractor will review the plan and locate any potential problems. The contractor will need to research the cost of materials, calculate the time needed to complete the project, number of workers needed and contact subcontractors for their cost. A contractor will submit a proposal encompassing the cost involved with the project. This can take approximately one day to several weeks, depending on the scope of work involved.

Project Begins

When the home owner and contractor agree upon the cost, they will sign a contract protecting both parties interest.  Once the home owner has hired a contractor, the contractor will procure the permits for the home improvement project.  He will order and schedule materials to be delivered.  Some projects will require sub-contractors if specialty trades are needed to perform certain aspects of the project. The general contractor will obtain and coordinate schedules with these subcontractors to keep the project moving smoothly. He will establish a payment schedule and disperse monies to all vendors as necessary.

Communication

A good general contractor will be in communication with home owners throughout the project. He will schedule your inspections, make sure the project meets code requirements and see the project through completion.

The general contractor may not be at your home daily. Most general contractors may have multiple projects, in different phases, going at the same time.  A good general contractor will have a Project Supervisor on the job daily.  The project supervisor will be in communication with the general contractor daily.  He will be able to answer basic questions the home owner might have concerning the project.

If there are any changes to the project or concerns, the home owner will need to contact the general contractor.  The project supervisor will not have the authority to make those changes that were in the original contract.  Any alterations to the original contract will be documented in the form of a “Change Order.”

What Can A Home Owner Do?

Most importantly the home owner needs to review the job site daily, if possible, so that if there is any misunderstanding it can be corrected as soon as possible.  CH Construction recommends documenting the construction process of your project with photos for your own records and for communicating with the general contractor for reference.

We also recommend all communication be in writing for reference and to prevent any misunderstanding.  An excellent and convenient way to do so is through email correspondence and requesting “read receipt” to validate receipt.

The home owner will be expected to make an initial payment prior to commencement of the contracted work.  Progress payments from the customer will be made reflecting completion of phases documented in the contract payment schedule.

It is important to make these payments on time, as the contractor will be allocating disbursement of those monies to the sub-contractors, material vendors and man power requirements during the time of the home improvement project.

Project Completion

Once the project is complete and the final inspection is approved the final payment to the contractor will be due.  If the home owner is pleased with the quality of work and professionalism of the general contractor and the sub-contractors; they appreciate referrals to friends and family.  If the homeowner wants to make sure the contractors know they appreciate their work, they can write a review on Google or any other recommended sites the contractor might suggest.  Also, any written documentation the contractor can use for a reference to other home owners is extremely helpful.

Home improvement projects can be stressful, but with the right contractor the home owner will not have to worry about the project.  If you have any questions contact CH Construction and let us help you. We have created a list of questions to ask your contractor before hiring them.  Please click on this link to print out.  What to Ask A Contractor