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7 Qualities of a Good General Contractor

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Header Stock Photo Mature Man Using A Spirit Level And Marking The Wall With A Pencil In His Kitchen

Traits to look for when hiring a contractor for your home remodeling project.

You have dreams of a home remodeling project. Maybe a kitchen transformation, adding a bathroom, or replacing doors and windows. You know you can’t — or shouldn’t — do it yourself, but who do you turn to?

Putting your remodeling dreams into someone else’s hands can be both exciting and distressing. Once you determine that a project is more than a “DIY” option, it’s smart to find a good remodeling contractor to see it through. Naturally, you’ll want to begin your search by asking friends and family about contractors they’ve worked with. But you should also check online reviews by using Angie’s List or Home Advisor to find good recommendations.

Once you gather a short list of contractors you’d like to consider, pay close attention to the vibe they put out and how comfortable you are with their answers to your questions during initial phone calls or in-person interviews. Trust your gut. You may be living with your contractor and their subcontractors for some time, and your happiness (not to mention your money) is in their hands.

Here are a few qualities to look for when hiring a remodeling contractor:

1) They treat your home as if it’s their own

Contractor talking about details of home renovations to young smiling couple

You should always feel that what they suggest for your home is something they would consider doing for their own home. Cutting costs to meet a budget and cutting corners to meet a due date can be red flags that end in disappointment.

As they work with you, they should be respectful of your home and your family members. At the end of the day, the job site (your home) should be left tidy and safely organized.

They should understand that while their work proceeds, your life goes on. From day one, they should be clear about how much inconvenience you will need to endure and for how long.

2) They love their work

Remodeling contractor and client discussing solutions to home renovation

Look for true enthusiasm as you discuss your project. They should see it as less of a chore or assignment and more as an opportunity to produce something both of you will be proud to show off. Even if your contractor has done a dozen remodeling projects like yours before, he or she should look at it with fresh eyes for new possibilities.

3) They’re knowledgeable and solutions-oriented

Contractor and subcontractor working on home exterior

With experience comes knowledge — about everything from up-front planning and budget concerns to work-around solutions for difficult challenges. You will have already checked references and Better Business Bureau records to research a contractor’s experience, but also note that a contractor should address your concerns with clear, thorough explanations, never speaking down to you but acting as a mentor instead.

4) They listen and take notes

Contractor taking notes on home exterior

It’s frustrating to realize that all of the things you spoke to your contractor about in the first conversation went in one ear and out the other. Taking thorough notes about your remodeling project, your vision, and your expectations will be very helpful as you proceed. It’s smart for both of you to have everything in writing.

At the end of each important conversation, recap the highlights so that each of you understands the next steps. It’s easy to become intimidated when discussing things outside your expertise. But you are talking about your house, most likely your biggest investment. Your contractor should exhibit patience with your concerns.

You can find a list of questions to ask prospective contractors here.

5) They use a stable group of subcontractors

Contractor ensuring work is level

A contractor is only as good as the people he or she hires to do your job. Ask questions about possible crewmembers, including construction crew, electricians, plumbers, painters, and drywall hangers. Ask who will be working on your project and how long have they worked with the contractor.

6) They’re nimble

Contractor lays out sample materials to review

Change happens. Tearing down a wall can reveal unexpected issues. Building material availability and prices fluctuate. Having a contractor who can bob and weave through unforeseen obstacles safely and efficiently can be a huge plus.

You may even ask your prospect about their experience handling the unexpected. Again, their flexibility will have a lot to do with their knowledge and expertise.

7) They love to show off their work

Contractor shows off product to homeowners

In addition to providing references, your contractors should be happy to tell you about completed projects that you can see for yourself. They may have a website where they show examples of their work, but it’s good to know about local or neighborhood homes where they have completed jobs.

The goal here is that when your project is completed, you are happy, and your home can be used as a shining example of your contractor’s work.

You can trust Window World’s personalized, local service backed by 25 years of experience from America’s Exterior Remodeler. If you’re considering remodeling ideas that include window or entry door replacements or a new garage door, your friends at Window World can make the entire process simple and easy. Find your local Window World store today.

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