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If there’s one thing you want to be sure to get right, it’s hiring the right general contractor for your next home, office or other commercial construction job. One misstep at this juncture could spell trouble for the duration of your project. In South Florida in particular, there are a good number of challenges that are unique to the area that it’s important your GC knows how to manage and prepare adequately for in advance.
Take the time to seriously vet who you want to handle your build by asking them three imperative questions. A little homework upfront could be the difference between an on-time, on-budget build and one that is fraught with delays and budget trouble.
1) Tell me about your experience as a licensed general contractor in the area.
This question helps you get at a few things. For one, it gives you insight into their credentials and background. You want to be sure your general contractor has all the required licenses and insurance with appropriate coverage limits. Have they worked in the area? Are they well-versed with the regulations for the city and county? If you’re breaking ground in Delray, ask what projects they’ve completed nearby – whether it’s Boca Raton, Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale or even Miami-Dade.
Moreover, this question can also shed some light onto the contractor’s character. By learning about their scope of experiences and work philosophy, you’ll better understand how they approach partnering with clients on renovations or new builds.
2) How do you prefer to communicate with your clients?
Pay attention to how your general contractor communicates with you during the interview process. Are they helpful and willing to educate you on industry topics, specific regulations that are typical of South Florida, or do they gloss over your questions with vague responses? As with most interview questions, the more specific, the better. Ask for examples of when they had to communicate something challenging to a client, for example. What was the situation and how did it go? By the end of their answer to this question, you should have a solid understanding of how and when the GC communicates with clients and their team and what priority they place on this critical skill.
3) Can you please provide references?
While you may feel tempted to skip this step, especially if you feel you’ve established rapport with the contractor, don’t. Ask for references, and be sure to follow up with those references. Unsure what to ask previous clients? Start with the basics of understanding their project and scope and then dig into asking about how well the general contractor communicated and if they completed the project on time and on budget. Ask if there were any particular, localized problems that arose – especially if you’re based out of the area and looking to build in South Florida.
For more suggestions, take a look at our blog post on this topic.
Hiring a general contractor is a big step, but it is undoubtedly an exciting one. Do your homework and take your time, so you can be sure you hire the right contractor for your job. Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a consultation today.