Complete Your Project with the Right Team
You’ve found a contractor you like. So who else comes on your project or into your home?
Contracting It Out
Very seldom will you find a contractor who employs all the trades that are needed to complete a project. Different trades require licenses or equipment that a general contractor may not have, and that’s the way it should be. For example, a good plumber will keep up with the continuing education, code changes, and different requirements in different cities, and they will have qualified employees to complete their part of the job. The same is true for all other specialists.
When my father first started years ago, he did everything from pouring concrete to roofing and trimming out the house. He and others like him were more than qualified to build a very nice, complete home. I think my father’s favorite part was building the cabinets, but times changed and new equipment was developed to make fancier cabinets in a shorter amount of time. Instead of going into debt for new equipment, he began hiring subcontractors to build cabinets. This pattern was repeated in many of the trades, and the home builder has become more of a coordinator. We are fully involved in all aspects of your project, but it’s our job to make sure that your new home or bath or kitchen comes together in a timely, professional matter.
In a lot of ways the tradesmen I use are like my “partners”—one homeowner refers to them as my team and that’s a great analogy. Many of my “partners” have worked with me for years and we all understand the value of a good job and the referrals that follow. They know that once they have given me a project bid, I will not look for someone who will do the job for less. I always worry that pushing for the lowest prices could causes companies to cut corners or give less than their best effort. This doesn’t mean that I don’t make sure my partners aren’t being competitive, because that’s just good business. But it’s important to me to use people that know what I expect and whom I can trust to do a great job and stand behind their work. I encourage my customers to meet with my tradesmen to discuss their plans and techniques.
With subcontractors in the mix, you need to consider what happens if a tradesman or his employee gets injured or makes a mistake that results in property damage. Does your contractor have a full Workers Compensation and General Liability policy that will protect both you and the subcontractor? Some contractors just carry a minimum policy or a state-issued Certificate of Non Coverage. I feel that it is their responsibility to provide adequate insurance to protect the homeowner, whether an incident is an accident or on purpose, or if coverage should lapse. I recommend that you ask your contractor if any of his subcontractors or employees are using a certificate of non-coverage, and that you contact an attorney if you feel that will not be sufficient.
A good contractor will be able to answer all your questions and concerns before you start a new project.
- Ask for your contractor’s references, and check them thoroughly. Ask the former customers how they got along with the tradesmen and if they were happy with their work.
- Ask how any personality or communication issues were resolved, or how mistakes were handled.
As always, feel free to contact me at 479-640-0518 with any questions