So how do you find a good general contractor in NYC for your renovation? When done right, renovating your home offers both tangible and intangible rewards. It can also be a costly, time-consuming, and stressful, made more so by the fact that you’ll rely largely on contributors like contractors, designers, and architects.
The whole process can put homeowners on edge. In fact, in a KPMG survey, 69 percent of homeowners named poor contractor performance as the biggest contributor to their failed projects.
If you’re working with a skilled, experienced, and honest team, it doesn’t have to be a roller-coaster ride. When determining the qualities of a good contractor and their qualifications, verify credentials (licenses, references, and reviews), but don’t discount your instincts about that contractor’s people skills. After all, home renovation is a people business, and surrounding yourself with the best ones is a good way to ensure success.
Establish Dialogue With Your Contractor
Home renovations can take anywhere from weeks to months. If you remain in your home, then you’ll practically be living with your contractor, so having a good rapport with the person can help alleviate stress.
Another KPMG data point states that 82 percent of homeowners want to collaborate more with their contractors. If you have trouble communicating the first time you meet, then it likely won’t get easier as the project continues.
Beyond that, you have to be confident that your contractor can deal with setbacks. For example, you might have to fix old “handyman specials,” fortify old framework, remove asbestos, and rework any electric or plumbing infrastructure. A good contractor explains these factors to you, then researches your property’s history, asks you questions, and provides answers to let you know what to expect.
What Makes a Good General Contractor?
Knowing how to find a reliable general contractor can be tricky for anyone who’s new to the process. Fortunately, it’s easy to spot the qualities of a good contractor before you entrust them with renovating your home. If finding a good general contractor is proving difficult, look out for these positive traits:
1. Listens more and talks less
It’s natural for contractors to toot their own horn a bit when they first meet you. They are trying to sell themselves. However, good contractors showcase their expertise by listening to your needs, concerns, and questions, and they speak only to give information rather than promote themselves further.
One of the telltale signs of a bad contractor is someone who spends more time talking about their accomplishments than the plans for your space. They aren’t really listening to what you want out of your renovation. You might catch them glossing over your questions and concerns or turning the conversation more toward their own strengths. To avoid clashing later, choose the one who wants to bring your vision to life.
2. Acts more like a consultant
By focusing more on your goals and how to achieve them, good general contractors are more like consultants when discussing your project with you. In the beginning, they can’t offer an accurate estimate if they don’t know as much about you and the project as possible. As it goes on, they should be open and honest about challenges and how best to address them.
And watch for contractors who completely write off your suggestions from the start. Not every one of your specific goals may be doable, but your contractor should push back only when necessary and be able to offer easier and more affordable alternatives. Good contractors won’t let pride stand in the way of making sure they’re well-equipped to complete your project the way you want it.
3. Is always on time (or, at least, rarely late)
Once your home renovation project starts, you will encounter unexpected hiccups and challenges. Your schedule and budget will already be stretched, and every time your contractor isn’t on time, each will be stretched even further.
That doesn’t mean you should hold one or two delays against your contractor, especially if they notified you in advance and had a good reason. However, a contractor who always seems to be late (despite having an excuse) or who has a history of delayed projects because of tardiness won’t bode well for your project’s success.
You need a good contractor to complete your renovation project on time, on budget, and on point. The best way to find a good contractor is to pay close attention not just to their qualifications, but also the quality of their person and their dedication to your vision.