How to find the best contractor to build my house
This question gets so complex it quickly becomes an overwhelm even for a knowledgeable professional.
One of the best ways to handle many complex decisions is with a must and wants analysis. Make a spreadsheet that will have a vertical list on the left of all of your must haves that if you don't have any one of these this is a deal you will not make.
Next add to your spreadsheet below a further list of all the features you want. Next to each want give a score from 1 to 10.
Next you need a viable list of options, in this case contractors. Give each contactor their own column heading with each getting two columns.
Now put Yes/No answers on each of your must haves. Those who fail to meet all your must haves get dropped, or you have to move the failed must have to a want to have and provide a rating.
Next you have to do the homework to be able to judge how well each choice does on a score of 1 to 10 on how well they meet each separate want requirement.
Now sum up those totals and the winner is your contractor. If the top scores are within 5% then pick the red one or whatever floats your boat.
Although this is a great tool to help with complex decisions, it does not help in selecting the contractors you want to consider.
I found it best to consider contractors recommended by friends, off the various rating and referral services, those who are building in the areas where you want to build, and those recommended by your specialists including real estate attorney, real estate agent, vendors/suppliers who sell the style and type of finishes you want in the home, etc. You really want to make sure that you hire a contractor who specializes in the style, quality, and price range of the home you want to build. Too far over their normal and they are going to have a very hard time working with you. Too far below their price range and they should not be interested as your project does not have enough money to support their crew.
When seeking a contractor for any project around the house - the first questions are for you to answer: What are the goals for the project?, and What is your budget for the project? This is true whether you are building a new home, or more likely, for remodeling (since far more folks remodel than ever build new).
When homeowners call remodeling contractors without preparing properly, them make a critical mistake and give away true definition of the project parameters and control of the process to someone else. And a second critical mistake they make is not knowing how well qualified the remodeler is for their project type and their budget size.
The idea of remodeling your home is scary and intimidating. I teach homeowners a simple, step-by-step process to take control of their project, hire the best professionals available, and get results they can be proud of and enjoy.
Interview at least three. Look for well run outfits. These will generally have clean trucks and thoughtful and conmunicative employees. Ask for references and follow up on them. Homeowners who have found a good contractor are practically eager to brag about it.
Keep in mind that best is not inexpensive. When I was in the business it was our policy to never be low bidder. The best is often not the high bidder either. The best contractors make their money by being the most efficient and effective and doing the job right the first time. The high bidder could also be having problems or doesn't really want the job.
If you have an architect you can ask them to recommend builders or have them manage the bidding process. Thus will depend a lot on the architect.
There's a whole list of things that you really need to have to make everything work positive besides someone that says they can do it for a real good price. I think one of the good things is word-of-mouth reputation is very important. I think that a contractor who's been in business for a while and has done that kind of work I think that is someone that can get the work done within a reasonable amount of time and obviously you want to be able to send your house plans out for competitive bid pricing. These builders that are bidding on the project must tell you if they see any discrepancies in the drawings and to inform you inwriting so that you don't get extras later. Once you know what these discrepancies are, tell the person who produced the drawings to revise the drawings and re-send to all the bidders so that everyone is seeing the same thing and then to adjust their bids costs accordingly. You don't want any extras because something is missed. Make sure the contractor that you select has all his people on payroll and that they all have insurance coverage from working on your property and that the contractor has them all drug tested. Make sure you get a completion date in that he has materials availability and alternate materials if you can't find what your house designer has initially specified. And another really good tip is make sure that your contractor builder is easy to communicate and has time for you when you ask him questions and you feel comfortable with him. Make sure that he's bonded and licensed specially for your project and not an aggregate bond. If he asked for money upfront before doing any work tell him that you will pay for the permit, plans, hook-
ups and material when it arrives on site. Also tell him that he can take periodic draws for labor only upon physical inspection of the work by the building department for that phase of work Make sure the contractor pulls all necessary permits before starting any work and that you only pay labor after the work has been inspected for that phase of the work. Never completely pay the contractor off until all permits and inspections are completed. I would say hold back about 20% of the total price contractor is charging you until you, the inspector and the contractor agree 100% on a complete satisfactory work product at final inspection. PThis is your leverage show that he completes all the work properly. Your inspector is your best friend although the contractor should constantly be working for your benefit. Good luck I have been working for at least forty years and my brother has been a general contractor building houses for about 38 years. Try to get contractors that have at least one to two very knowledgeable workers (10 years experience) and a lot of young experienced people that are doing the framing because they will produce quickly One last thing make sure that each young person has at least three years experience in this type of work. I would also think it would be prudent if you picked up your own personal property insurance for liability reasons while these extra people are on your property
Assuming that you have the project permitted and ready to be built you will need to focus in the bidding and negotitation phase.
You may publish an advertisement on a local newspaper if you are in a small town. Other methods are emailing contractors that work in the area. There are plenty of contractors which can be found by using apps or any internet search engine.
Be sure to read all comments regarding their performance. It is the first step to pre qualify the contractors and get a preliminary list.
Any intererested contractor may answer back to you and you will then provide them with the drawings so they may bid the work. Try to get several proposals so you may narrow down the construction price range.
If you choose any contractor in particular you may further negotiate with him to requesr price reductions or even ask them to bid several different alternatives of the work in order to choose which path is the most convenient.
Always remember to choose contractors that can place a performance bond and that can submit refereces from other clients.
Asking to see their previous work doesn't hurt.
Also asking for references from people they've worked for can go a long way to telling you whether or not it is a good idea to hire them.
Ultimately having knowledge of the type of work you need done is about the best thing because then you can ask them questions about what you need done and see if they give the right answers.
Sadly there is no guaranteed way to make certain they're going to do a good job or do the work right because even if they did terrible before they might do wonderful work this time around and even if they did wonderful work before they could very well do the worst work of their career for you.
First off, define "best".....do you mean cheapest or fastest or highest quality? Usually, google, Yelp and Facebook will be your best research tools once you locate a contractor in your area that can do the work.
Also, the best contractors are usually pretty busy....so if someone tells you that they can start next day that might be a red flag.
The best contractors are usually in the upper 30% of the pricing range because quality work calls for a premium price and these guys are busy so they can pick and choose jobs and charge more (rightfully so).
Search for reviews, look at their website, fans on Facebook, BBB: Start with Trust® | United States | Better Business Bureau and you can also look their license number up to make sure nothing is wrong with that.
Hope that helps!