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Tips for Working With a General Contractor for Home Renovations (and What Not to Do)

December 21st, 2022 |

You’re eager to begin that upgrade for your investment property. But it’s important to know what to do and what not to do when planning a renovation. Before you start, read these tips on working with a general contractor for home renovation. 

What to Do When Working with a General Contractor

The first step is to hire a licensed and insured general contractor. You can verify the license in Massachusetts with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards. Then you and your general contractor must agree on certain details of the project. 

Agree to a Timeline

A timeline is important for accountability and for completing the project on schedule. You and the general contractor make a list of deadlines for specific stages of the renovation and periodically check the list. List the deadlines in chronological order and post the timeline at the job site. 

Receive Regularly Scheduled Updates

Your general contractor must be willing to communicate with you on a regular basis. Find out how the contractor prefers to provide updates. Have them contact you at a specific time, such as daily emails or phone calls. Transparent communication helps the job run smoothly and cuts down on stress for everyone. 

Ask How They Work with Subcontractors

A general contractor for a home renovation will likely hire subcontractors, such as electricians or plumbers. Make sure you ask how the subcontractors will be managed and how your concerns will be communicated. Always verify that subcontractors have valid licenses and insurance.  

Get a Detailed Quote and Contract 

Before work begins, make sure you have an itemized quote and written contract. The quote should include specific materials and brands you have chosen. The contract should include the start and projected completion dates, items that are included and excluded and how funds will be spent.   

Prepare for Unexpected Issues 

Even the most carefully planned renovation can hit a snag. Examples include storm-related delays, backordered materials and foundation issues. To keep the project on track, it’s important to budget and plan for unexpected problems. 

What Not to Do When Working with a General Contractor

Knowing what not to do can mean the difference between a successful home renovation and a nightmare.

Hire Based on Cheapest Price

The lowest price is not always the best choice for home renovations. If a contractor quotes a below-average price, they may dramatically increase the price during the project. Also remember that part of the price covers a contractor’s license fees and insurance premiums. An unusually low bid may mean the contractor is not licensed or insured.

Pay Upfront 

Down payments are fine, but you should never pay the entire price upfront. You can also make scheduled payments as the renovation progresses. However, if a contractor insists on full payment upfront, you should find another contractor.  

Hire Without a Contract 

A signed contract is the only acceptable way to do business with a general contractor for home renovation. Get the details in writing to ensure the project is completed on time and as agreed. Never hire based on a verbal agreement. 

We’re proud of our skilled and dependable general contracting team at RH Blanchard. Contact us and get a free quote for your Boston-area renovation.