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Do I Need a General Contractor to Renovate?

October 16th, 2023 |

It’s time to take the plunge and renovate your investment property. You may wonder, “Do I need a general contractor to renovate?” A general contracting professional is indispensable for some types of projects.

Project Involves Multiple Contractors

Some renovation projects involve complex scheduling of multiple contractors. A general contracting professional understands the timeframe subcontractors need to complete their work. They can keep the project on track and spare you the hassle of time management.  

Building Codes Require a Licensed Contractor

To comply with local building codes, you may have to hire a licensed professional to complete certain projects. A non-professional can be fined if they do some types of work. A licensed general contractor can get permits that you would not legally be able to obtain.  

Warranties Require a Qualified Professional  

A product or material warranty may be valid only if a certified professional does the work. For items that affect the structural integrity of a building — such as a roof or window — the warranty may be voided if you do the work yourself. 

Important Questions When Hiring a General Contractor

Gathering information is an important part of the hiring process. Here are some questions to ask a general contractor. 

Are They Licensed and Insured?

Ask the general contractor for proof that their professional license, liability insurance, and workers’ compensation are all up to date. Do not hire anyone who will not provide documentation of these items. In Massachusetts, you can verify the status of a contractor’s license with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards.  

Will They Obtain Permits?

A reputable general contractor will obtain the necessary permits for your renovation project. Consider it a red flag if a contractor tells you to get the permit yourself or if the project does not need a permit. 

Do They Provide References?

Before hiring, ask a general contractor for references, preferably from projects similar to yours. If the contractor has a history of successful projects, they will happily provide a list of satisfied clients. Ask for pictures of completed projects, too. Contact the references and ask if they are satisfied with the contractor’s work.  

How Will They Communicate?

Whether email, text or phone call, communication between the client and the general contractor is crucial during a renovation project. Ask how often you will hear from the contractor and what type of communication they will use. Certain communications, such as change requests, should be documented in writing. Also, make sure you have contact information for after-hours emergencies. 

Will They Provide an Itemized Bid and Contract?

An itemized bid allows you to discuss and change the cost of materials and labor. The contract should be itemized with specific materials, labor, and payment schedule information. It should include a list of documents the contractor will give you at the end of the project, such as warranties and inspection reports. 

Have you answered yes to the question, “Do I need a general contractor to renovate my Boston-area property?” Get in touch with the general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard for a free quote.