Understanding How to Utilize a General Contractor

A major home renovation, addition, or repair is going to take a lot of expertise, especially given that the work can range from flooring to wall repair to electricity work. As a result, while there are lots of skilled homeowners and plenty of tools and materials at the local big box hardware store in most communities, there’s a line most people should respect when it comes to home improvement work. When that line is reached, that’s where a general contractor can fill the gap.

Hiring a Contractor

Lots of folks are worried about hiring a general contractor and would prefer to just go through a typical brand service. However, a quality general contractor can be a big advantage for handling a home improvement project that involves multiple aspects but it’s not big enough to bring in a full crew. General contractors are ideal for handling multiple skillsets as well; you deal with one point of contact instead of five different tradespeople, which assumes you know five different skills and how to manage them on a project. The reality is most people don’t know any trade skills and contract blind as a result.

The primary role of a general contractor is to provide the expertise the typical homeowner doesn’t have. We all have different skills, knowledge, and experience. General contractors excel in construction, others in accounting, being a lawyer, medicine, farming food, or teaching languages. Utilizing a general contractor simply means you’re bringing in the expertise you don’t have personally to manage a construction project or repair that is well beyond basic skill.

The general contractor will personally take care of finding the right skill for different aspects of a construction or repair project. They are able to quickly see and identify what’s needed from plumbing to wiring to surfacing to flooring. Doing so, they take the skill selection process of your hands while you still work with a specific contact for the project performance. That’s an advantage for you.

Sources for Finding a Competent General Contractor

Obviously, there are lots of characters who call themselves a general contractor but don’t have the skill or don’t care. These are problems in the market that one has to watch out for. However, a couple of key steps can help. First, work with a viable recommendation resource. Online tools like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List are very useful. Long-standing project providers like Eco-Minded Solutions also can help, providing connection sources for general contractors, crews, tradespeople, and similar. Second, look for references. Never hire a general contractor without knowing their past work and performance with other clients. Lots of people work with local community references, but online tools can help as well when you live in a bigger city area. Alternatively, one could use a middle-man resource like one of the big box hardware stores as a go-between for finding a general contractor. Both Home Depot and Lowes, for example, provide this service. General contractors are only able to stay with these resources if they continue to produce positive results. In any case, a reputable general contractor will always have viable contact information, licensing, and business presence and will have no problem proving it either when asked.


Always make sure your general contractor is bonded (insured). This is a critical protection for you as anyone who works on your home can take out a mechanic’s lien on your property if they are not paid by the contractor. If a general contractor refuses to provide this protection, choose someone else. The same goes for when they want you to sign off on building permits; that’s the role of the general contractor and why you pay him or her to manage the project. By you signing the permit, you take the responsibility for any construction mistakes per building codes.

Click to learn more here about how to work with general contractors and how to ensure your project runs smoothly. The research is well worth your time and can save you from a lot of headaches down the road as your project begins.