How to Find a Qualified General Contractor
There’s a lot of construction going on in Portland right now, in case you haven’t noticed. And it isn’t limited to large condo buildings and modern retail spaces. Homeowners are feeling the push to upgrade elements of their home in preparation to sell or expand. With more wealth and a fast-growing job market, Portland citizens have more money to put towards one of their favorite pastimes — home improvement.
Recommended residential or commercial contractors in Portland
All of this growth is wonderful for the city, but it does make finding an available general contractor in Portland a challenge. So where do you start? A lot of online sources will suggest simply asking friends, family, or coworkers for suggestions. This is great advice since most homeowners have at least had minor work done to their home. Even new window installations require finding a general contractor either directly or through a home improvement store.
Four questions to ask before deciding on a contracting company
So, before you go diving into endless reviews and recommendations from others who have had completely different projects done, ask yourself some questions. When it comes time to make a deal, you’ll be more informed about the contractor’s availability, punctuality, and where they focus the most attention.
- What is the scale of the project you have in mind? – If your garage needs a new roof or your front porch needs repair, look for contractors who have a record of smaller scale work. On the other hand, if your garage needs demolishing and rebuilding on a completely new foundation, keep an eye out for contractors specializing in shops and garages.
- Commercial contracting? – Hiring a commercial general contractor means you need work done for your business. This is an important distinction when it comes to tax write-offs as well as design and safety features, so ask whether the contractor you’re interested in is experienced in commercial work. Don’t forget to take a walk around the commercial districts in town — a lot of businesses have recently hired contractors to expand their restaurant or shop space. This allows you to see and feel a particular contractor’s work, as well as an opportunity to ask the owners how the process went.
- Residential contracting? – The same advice goes for residential work. Take a walk around your favorite neighborhood on a nice day. Who knows? Maybe the home or garage you’ve gawked at a dozen times will have its owner out front ready to chat about who did the great work!
- Is it all about the final product? – If you’re the type of person who just likes to make the call, get it done, and pay the bill, then a full service contracting company might be right for you. However, if you want to keep costs low and maybe do some of the work yourself, be clear about that before receiving any bids. Some contractors, for example, will remove windows, replace them, and not fix the tile or other materials that were damaged in the process. It’s true that some people are fine with doing some of this kind of work themselves, just ask yourself if you’re really okay with it before being too cavalier about the service.
- How do you feel about subcontractors? – There will be subcontractors. And depending on the scale of the project, there might be a number of them. The general contractor organizes the project and hires skilled subcontractors for specialty jobs like concrete laying, plumbing, and electrical. Hopefully they will all have worked with the general contractor for a long enough period of time for you to ask for references that include their work.
Meet Your Next General Contractor!
Once you decide on what you want, your decision should feel like a natural fit. The best general contractor will be one who offers exactly what you’re looking for while making communication easy and comfortable. You’ll be seeing a lot of this person, so make sure you’re happy with them. If you need further proof of their credentials, check with the Better Business Bureau or Oregon’s consumer protection agency. Everything should check out before moving forward with your exciting new construction project.