Connecting Homeowners With Contractors

Written by home-improvement  |  12. October 2007

What is a General Contractor? A general contractor is a specific type of contractor. Architects design the plans for major renovations, additions or new homes. Specialty contractors handle particular jobs such as cabinet or countertop installations. A general contractor manages the entire project, working with architects, and often hiring and supervising specialty contractors as his subcontractors. A general contractor, as project manager, will also obtain permits and coordinate the associated inspections to keep the project on schedule. If you are undertaking major renovations, it is wise to consider hiring a general contractor. If you are knowledgeable about local building regulations and obtaining building permits, handling legal paperwork and hiring, managing and paying subcontractors, and have flexible time for these activities, or if you plan to do much of the work yourself, you may save money by acting as your own general contractor. Before approaching general contractors, plan your project. Be specific about what you want, including any plans, drawings, names of any specific material choices you have in mind; and know what you are willing to pay as well as how you will finance your project When you are ready to approach Long Island general contractors:
  • Get more than one estimate or 'bid'
  • Research the general contractors before hiring: Ask for references and follow up with them directly; check with New York State licensing boards; check the Better Business Bureau for complaints, ask local business owners the contractor deals with about the contractor
  • Interview contractors: Make sure they have general liability insurance policy; ask for the info (policy number, issuer) of their insurance for worker's compensation; make sure they are licensed and bonded.
Long Island general contractors should submit written bids for your project. These bids should include:
  • Start and end dates for project
  • A list of work that will be sub-contracted and the cost of each job
  • Explanations of materials and associated warranties
General contractor compensation may be based on a fixed fee, or a percentage of the project's total cost, usually 10 to 25%. Once you have selected a general contractor, agree on a written contract. The contract should include start and finish dates, full price of project, payment terms, who will do what work and at what cost. Home building, additions and even renovations are detailed, exacting processes requiring skills and expertise in building and in management of contractors. A general contractor, carefully selected, can help you by easing the burden of details and time, and by helping to filter through choices to make the best available according to your budget, thus making the process much less stressful. Find licensed Long Island general contractors for all your home improvement needs at http://www.lihome411.com ---------- Tom Mirabella and Bob Roddini are homeowners. Like you, at times they needed help with repairs and remodeling, and have had difficulty in the past finding qualified and reliable contractors. Their goal was to connect homeowners who need remodeling and repair work with prescreened professionals ready to work. They created LIHome411.com as a one stop resource for Long Island home improvement projects big or small. You can find a directory of contractors and easy access to useful information about home improvement and repair, to inspire and encourage you to get it done, whether "it" is adding a master suite or fixing a leaky faucet.

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