What to Know About Hiring a General Contractor

What is a Contractor?

A general contractor is the person in charge of any medium or large sized construction job. In general, they purchase the materials, hire the construction crew, and bring in subcontractors to get the work done. The subcontractors are responsible to the general contractor, not the owner of the property being demolished or constructed. It is important that you choose your contractor carefully! No other decision will have a greater impact on the success or failure of your project. Find someone whom you can trust and feel comfortable working with. If you have to pay a little extra to hire the right person, you won’t regret it. The savings from hiring the low bidder often evaporate as the job progresses.

What are Some of a Contractor’s Responsibilities?

A long island general contractor will oversee basically all aspects of a demolition or construction job. They will also serve as a link of communication between the owner of the property, the crew, and any subcontractors involved on a project. Some other key responsibilities include:

  • Estimating and bidding the project budget.
  • Negotiating a contract with the owner.
  • Hiring and negotiating contracts with subcontractors.
  • Obtaining the necessary permits and scheduling inspections.
  • Establishing a payment schedule based on work progress.
  • Creating a schedule for workers, subcontractors, and deliveries.
  • Ordering  materials.
  • Negotiating material prices and Interpreting the plans and specifications.
  • Supervising and coordinating the work of employees and subcontractors.
  • Troubleshooting job-site problems.

While doing all of the above, the general contractor long island is also busy meeting with the owners to address their concerns, while also handling the other aspects of the job. The role of a general contractor is essentially to multitask with ease, to make sure the entire project is going smoothly.

How Does the General Contractor Manage a Team?
As you see, the general contractor is busy to say the least.  A lot of their energy and focus goes into managing the team below them, most importantly their subcontractors. A good general contractor will have strong relationships with competent and reliable subcontractors. That means the subcontractors will show up when needed and do good work with minimal supervision. They know what level of work the contractor expects, they know they’ll get paid promptly, and they know that the job will be ready for them when they show up. As in any profession, it pays to be nice, focused, and reliable.


How to Choose the Right Person for the Job
If you are working with a construction company, they will often provide names of contractors with whom they have worked with successfully. That’s a good place to start, but whether you are starting from scratch or with a list of names, the process is pretty much the same. Word of mouth of a strong reputation is always important. In general, however, you find a contractor the same way you find a doctor, lawyer, or other professional whom you have to trust is competent and reliable. As with a doctor or lawyer, a lot is at stake if the licensed demolition contractor makes any mistakes on the job. Anything from minor injuries of the crew, to errors on worksites could result in major lawsuits.

What Should I Ask of a Potential General Contractor?

In your search for a general contractor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is important that you cover all of your bases. Some key questions to ask a new licensed demolition contractor could include:

  • How many jobs like this have you completed?
  • What is the average square-foot cost for this type of job?
  • How much experience do you have with large building demolitions?
  • Who will supervise the construction on site? Who will I be working with once the construction begins?
  • What work will your own employees perform (as opposed to subcontractors)?
  • What is your company’s greatest strength?

Remember that the contractor is going to be your number one source of communication throughout the duration of your demolition project. Do not hesitate to communicate effectively and efficiently.

You and your contractor will essentially be business partners for duration of the job, so choose someone with honesty and integrity. Problems will arise during and probably after any large demolition job, so it is important to find someone who you feel will act fairly and responsibly in resolving any issues that come up. Make sure that who you hire is someone you feel comfortable with in discussing the needs of your project. If you have any questions about hiring a contractor, please contact us anytime.