More Ways to Ensure a Positive Experience With Your General Contractor
If you intend to build, repair or renovate your home, it helps to have some practical guidelines to protect you from common pitfalls. I provided a few tips in a previous issue of Hawaii Renovation, and I hope you found the guidelines useful.
Here are more of the issues I’ve encountered as a general contractor in Hawaii — tips I hope will be equally helpful to you.
• Check on the contractor with the Department of Commerce and Customer Affairs (DCCA) and the Building Industry Associa-tion. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if there were any negative reports or complaints with the contractor. Look for logos on the contractors’ card, website, or any type of advertising that the contractor uses. Good signs are if the contractor is BBB-free of complaints, insured, bondable and licensed.
• Feel free to ask the contractor questions. I can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate with the contractor on all levels. How long has he been in Hawaii?
Does he have family here? If he’s lived in Hawaii most of his life, it’s likely he will not be a flight risk if there are work-related problems. It would also seem reasonable that he intends to continue doing business in Hawaii and would not want to tarnish his company’s image.
• Does he have a brick and mortar office/shop? This gives an indication that the contractor is serious about his business, and it’s easier to locate him. Many contractors, especially the smaller companies, do not have shops/offices that are separate from their homes, as it is just another level of expense to maintain a separate location. Since they have more employees, the larger contracting companies usually have shops.
• Does the contractor clean up at the end of the day? Does his crew maintain safety and health standards while on the job? Is the crew considerate and conscious of those in the area while he and his crew are working? These are important issues. Many onsite accidents are preventable if cautionary measures are enforced. For example, some of my past clients had dogs that were in the house or loose in the yard. I made sure that my crew put the pet out of harm’s way when they were working, or I would contact the owner to ask how they would like to handle the issue. On one occasion, I was asked to walk the dog and pick up after it since the owner could not get home in time.
I am in the process of totally renovating my home. I use the same subcontractors on my home that I use on the jobs that I acquire. This shows that I trust the subs and am willing to have them do the work in my own home. It’s critically important for the client(s) to trust the workers, because many times the owners leave the home to get out of the workers’ way and to escape the construction noise.
Trust is also important, as it frees the owner to go about his or her business without worrying about the crew. Sometimes, if the owner is there when the crew is working, he or she may slow up the process and add to the confusion and distraction.
In a previous issue of Hawaii Renovation, I mentioned that it’s prudent to obtain several quotes from different contractors before deciding on one. I also mentioned that the lowest quote or the cheapest quote is not necessarily the best one. Many times my quote will be slightly higher than other quotes from different contractors. I like to submit my estimates in more detail by costing out the various stages of construction and itemizing the quote. Many contractors will not do this and will submit a quote in more general terms, making it difficult for the client to fully understand where the higher costs will occur. I have had clients who selected Paragon Builders as their contractor simply because of trust, even though my quote was higher than others’ quotes.
I hope that these additional tips will help you further in making the right choice for a general contractor.
For more information, contact Paragon Builders LLC at 306-2653.
Chris Koike is the owner of Paragon Builders LLC.
ADDRESS: 419 WAIAKAMILO ROAD, 2B
CONTACT: 306-2653 • email@example.com