Am I Hiring the Right General Contractor?

Am I Hiring the Right General Contractor?

This is likely the single most important question out of the remodeling/new home process.

The right fit can make the process smooth, with expectations set and inevitable surprises addressed professionally. The wrong fit…well, you don’t want to go there! These questions can help…

1. Are you licensed/registered with the state of New Jersey?

It is mandatory for all home improvement contractors to be registered with the state of New Jersey.  Registrations must be renewed annually, and registration numbers should be displayed on all business related documents.  Hiring an unregistered contractor could leave you vulnerable if a dispute were to occur during renovations. And we think it’s best to hire a contractor from your county or a neighoring one; if you are doing work in Westfield, isn’t it best to have a contractor familiar with the zoning rules, permitting process for the Town of Westfield?

2. Do you have insurance?

It is essential that everyone is protected during construction.  Contractors should carry workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.  This protects the workers on site, our property and you as a homeowner.  During construction, your homeowner’s insurance company should also be notified of renovations.

3. How long have you been in business?  And do you have client references?

It’s important to make sure that you don’t plan on working with a “fly by night” contractor. That said, more years in business also doesn’t always equate to better service.  A proven track record of satisfied clients is a more accurate measure.  Always ask for a list of references.  Speaking to past clients is one of the best methods for assessing a contractor’s success.  At MRC, we are proud to have long-standing relationships with highly-satisfied customers, and are happy to share a list of references with prospective clients.

4. Is my project appropriate for your company?

Not every contracting business is built for handling large-scale remodeling projects, or high-quality, unique new construction.  It’s critical that your contractor’s business be suited to take on your type and size of project.

5. Who will be my main point of communication?

It’s critical to have understanding of how your project will be run when selecting a remodeling partner.  At MRC, we have processes to not only make sure that you have an experienced, dedicated project manager, but also that there are set weekly meetings to ensure constant communication.

6. What is the timeline for my project?

A fact-based estimated timeline for your project is important.  If a contractor estimates your project to be complete in 4 months, when others approximate 6 months, it is probably is too good to be true, or that quality will be sacrificed.  Reasonable expectations should be set. At MRC, we share a detailed timeline with our clients marking off significant milestones in your project. We set realistic expectations and come prepared.

7. Do you warranty your work?

A 1-year warranty is the industry standard.  Contractors should have a written warranty policy that clearly outlines warranty information.  MRC offers a 3-year warranty. We stand behind out work, and we are certainly not out of the picture once the job is complete.

9. How will changes during construction be dealt with?

Understanding how inevitable changes during construction will be handled will help keep the process running smoothy. It’s best if plan changes or additional work requested is put into writing, reviewed and agreed upon before any work related to the change is started.  At MRC, no changes to the original agreed-upon work will happen until the client and the project manager both agree to the scope of the change and the associated cost.