- Communication – This is absolutely critical for construction projects to run smoothly. There will often be surprises or delays and it is important that you and your contractor have open, clear lines of communication. You want someone who will take notes and review those with you to ensure you and he or she are on the same page and that there aren’t any surprises. You need regular updates on the project as well and should have a project plan that you can follow.
- Respect – Pay attention to this one. The contractor coming into your home needs to be respectful of you, your belongings and your home. If you have special concerns or requests be sure they listen. A good way to tell what you’re dealing with is to see how they approach your home. Are they walking across the yard, stepping through the flower bed or do they stay on the walkway? When they come in, do they wear shoe covers or do they tromp muddy boots across your floor? Do they ask what concerns you have and if you do, did they write anything down? If it isn’t written the odds of it being taken care of are pretty slim.
- Professionalism – A lot of this will be obvious. Are they using chewing tobacco or cigarettes as they approach your home? Do they have a uniform and the tools needed to properly scope, measure and document what you need? Demeanor
- Licensing – In North Carolina just about anyone can perform construction work. It’s one of a few states that allows people to act as a general contractor for projects up to $30,000 without any licensing requirement. If you have a small project this is usually not an issue but if you’ve got something that is estimated over $20,000 it’s a good idea to make sure you work with a licensed GC. That way if you add something to the project, make changes or unforeseen issues come up they can still complete the job on time.
- Experience – A lot of people know enough about construction to sound knowledgeable and can come across as very confident in what they do. Do some research on your own and ask them questions about the job. If they have a different response than what you’ve researched probe a little and see why they think that is the best approach. Maybe even suggest doing what you’ve read and see how they respond. If they can’t give a good explanation for why they want to approach the project a certain way they likely haven’t done this type of project before.
- Integrity – This should go without saying but your gut will be a good guide most of the time. If you feel like the contractor is giving you straight answers and can be trusted you’re usually right. It’s always a good idea to reach out to their past customers as well. If those people were happy with the experience and treated fairly there’s a good chance you will be too.
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