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When You Need to Work with a General Contractor

The best thing about owning property is tackling projects that allow you to design and upgrade your space so that it meets your vision. The worst thing about owning property is when the projects are no longer elective but necessary to preserve or repair the interior or exterior of the space. It is almost inevitable that this will happen and, when it does, the task is usually no longer do-it-yourself but rather one that requires professional assistance.

Large renovations, outdoor excavation or projects that require multiple craftsmen are best left to professionals. A general contractor can take control of large projects and manage the work from beginning to end. Hiring a contractor can also ensure that your work will meet all the specifications of your local area. So, whether the project entails any electrical repair philadelphia pa or new plumbing Chicago Il, you can be confident that the work will be completed according to code and using the proper materials.
Another advantage to contracting the work is that the professional you choose can take the pressure from you by assuming the bulk of the responsibility. He/she can also be instrumental in the initial design and planning. However, it is important to understand that the more responsibility you give to your contractor, the more you will pay for the job and the less control you will keep. All of these decisions should be made before any work begins.

You can spell out exactly how the project will proceed by entering into a detailed contract. There are different types of contracts that specify the actual scope of work and areas of responsibility. A summary of each appears below:

  • Lump sum or fixed price contracts– The contractor details the work to be done and the timeline for completion. He/she assumes all the risk for material cost increases and necessary changes but benefits if the work is satisfactorily completed early.
  • Cost plus contracts– The property owner agrees to a set fee for the contractor’s time but must approve the cost of all materials. The owner assumes a higher level of monitoring in these cases.
  • Time and material contracts – The owner pays a daily rate plus any material or other costs that may arise. These are most appropriate when the project scope is unclear.
  • Unit pricing contracts – The owner receives a list of pre-fixed prices for specific materials. These costs may be adjusted if there are change orders during the project.

Regardless of the type of contract you choose, you need to select a contractor you can trust. It is important to meet with multiple companies to find one that understands your vision and is experienced in your particular type of work. You can start your search by using any of the online sites that offer company reviews, but personal referrals may be even more valuable. It would also be helpful to see a sample of a company’s work. Finally, check the company’s background and reputation in the community, licenses, employee certifications and liability insurance before you make a final decision.


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