There are literally hundreds of contractors in New York City so finding the right one can be a huge challenge. And how do you tell who won’t over or under quote you? FYI –both are bad. Or who take too long or worse still, quit the job? Follow these guidelines and you will be in good shape to making a smart contractor selection.
1. Word of mouth is always the number one. Talk to friends, colleagues, neighbors, the building manager etc. You can also try an online search. The Better Business Bureau and The Franklin Report are two quality and accurate neutral sites.
Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about in your neighborhood. A smart GC will have his marketing sign in front of his project sites. This is a good way to see who’s working in your area or even in your building
. Look closely –don’t be bashful about it, it’s research! – and try to assess if the team is working on a project similar to yours and the quality of their work. Does the team look meticulous and neat or lackadaisical and disorganized?
2. Now, invite a handful to view your space and provide you with quotes. When you compare, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If contractor A has included all material and contractor B has not, how can you make a fair decision on who to select? If you are really pro-active, hand out a template of how you would like the quote broken out at the initial meeting.
3. Most people then ask for references and photos of previous work. References are important, but how do you know they’re genuine customers? Website images are nice, but a lot of detail can be hidden. So it is much more important to ask to physically see the work. Try and look at jobs that are a few years old because new jobs always look good and be sure to interact with the hosts to really get a sense of how happy they were with the whole experience. Some contractors may also let you see a current job in progress. If so; does the site seem clean and organized? Who is in charge on site? Anyone? No one?
4. Finally, before putting ink to paper, make sure your number one choice GC has their licenses and insurances up to date. If they don’t, they probably won’t be getting into your building anytime soon. Meet your point of reference for the project if you have not already done so and always hold some money back until the project is complete. It is your biggest weapon to get your job 100%.