How to hire a general contractor for a remodeling project

How to hire a general contractor for a remodeling project

When it comes to home improvement projects, there are many different levels of difficulty. There are plenty of simple projects you can do yourself to save some money like wallpapering or painting a room or installing baseboard radiator covers. Then there are jobs that should be left to trained professionals who have all the necessary equipment. The most complicated remodels may require the work of several different contractors with different specialties to complete the project successfully. In this case, many homeowners will choose to hire a general contractor. A general contractor acts as a coordinator between all of the different contractors. The general contractor is responsible for managing the overall project, keeping things on schedule, and creating the schedules for all of the workers. Some homeowners research and choose their own contractors and are very involved in the project so they may choose not to hire a general contractor. But if you’d prefer to hire someone to do all the coordination work (it’s harder than you think) then there are a few things you need to know.

Ask for recommendations

A good place to start when looking for a general contractor is to ask around. If you know people who’ve remodeled, ask if they liked their contractor. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau and local building supply stores.

Get estimates from several contractors

Armed with a list of contractors, ask several for estimates. You can rule out any that can’t begin as soon as you’d like, but for the rest, it doesn’t hurt to get estimates from all of them. Having at least a few gives you some context to judge whether a price seems fair or not.

Make sure everything’s done by the book

Different states and even different cities will have varying regulations for contractors. Most require contractors to be registered with the state and have a license and insurance. Find out what the laws are in your area and make sure any prospective contractors meet the criteria. Even if the regulations are lax in your area, you can do your own homework. Many contractors voluntarily register or belong to an association of some kind that hold its members to certain standards of quality. Depending on the scope of your remodel, your city may require a building permit. Usually the general contractor will handle the securing of any necessary permits but it’s a good idea to communicate with him/her about that before work begins.

Get a written contract

A written contract is the only thing that can fully protect both you and the contractor if there’s a dispute during the project. The contract should spell out everything relating to the project including an estimated timeframe and cost. Read it carefully before signing and discuss anything you’re not sure about with your contractor.

Tie payments to successful completion of milestones

While some contractors may not take payment until the project is completely finished, many will ask for payments up front or along the way. What’s not normal is to pay a lot up front. You should never pay more than about 10 to 15% of the total cost up front even if they say it’s for materials. Reputable contractors have established relationships with building materials suppliers and can get the materials on credit. If you’re paying along the way, have predetermined milestones and make installment payments as each milestone of the project is completed to your satisfaction. Always hold back a significant portion (again 10 to 15%) for when the remodel is completely finished.


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Measure Your Baseboard Heaters

How to measure baseboard heaters:

Step 1

Always measure left to right, and twice for accuracy

Step 2 

Always measure left to right, and twice for accuracy

Step 3


Based on how your heater is configured,

choose an option below to expand and view

specific hot water baseboard heater measurement templates.

[+] Option 1: Straight Heater Configuration
[+] Option 2: L-Shape and U-Shape Configuration
[+] Option 3: 45 Degrees, Z-Shape Configuration


Now that you’ve learned how to measure baseboard heaters,

you’re ready to order.

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