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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS
San Diego, CA

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Guest Post – Five Tips for Choosing a General Contractor with Forge Hill Construction’s Bob Kovacs

24 May 2017


Guest Post – Five Tips for Choosing a General Contractor with Forge Hill Construction’s Bob Kovacs

houzz interior design ideas

Bob Kovacs is the kind of general contractor who has been working with clients for decades, without stopping to do much beyond bare bones marketing.  With past clients and referrals keeping him busy, he doesn’t really have to!  I’ve worked with guys like him since I began as a designer 13 years ago.  They’re the quiet professionals in the industry.  So when I’m offered advice from a guy like Bob for my readers, I’m happy to pass it along.  Here are his five tips for choosing a general contractor for your next project.

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You know you’re ready to improve your home, but how do you choose a general contractor? You’ve heard the scary stories about GCs who promised the world but then bailed with the first payment installment, or did a shoddy job and then disappeared with the entire budget.  I believe that finding a quality, professional contractor you can trust is the most important step of the process, but there’s more to it than just choosing someone who won’t skip town with your budget.

Choosing the right contractor gives you peace of mind that your spa bath will turn out well.

You need to find a contractor who will truly listen to your ideas and needs, and bring them to life as you imagined.  I’ve worked in the remodeling and home-building industry for 30-plus years, so I’ve seen a lot!  Based on my experience working with all kinds of clients, here are five key tips to help you choose the right contractor for your project:

  1. Ask for proof of insurance: Before hiring a contractor you should ask if they are fully covered by insurance for liability and worker’s compensation. Stay away from any contractor who hesitates to give you this kind of information.  [Jamie adds:  Also be sure to check with your state’s contractor licensing board to make sure his or her license is valid and current.  You can usually check by the owner’s name or the company name.]
  2. Research reviews and testimonials: Finding out what other clients have said about the contractor you’re researching is essential! Some of the common places to check are Facebook, Google, Houzz, Angie’s List, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, GuildQuality and the BBB. You should also ask contractors directly for references and call those references before you hire anyone!  [Jamie adds:  Bob Kovacs has been so busy serving his clients that he’s only just begun to ask for online reviews. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see any for someone you’re interested in working with. Ask for referrals and ask those referrals if any of their friends have used the same contractor.  Talk to them, too.]
  3. Find out if they offer guarantees or warranties: Sometimes projects go awry despite a contractor’s skill, or you’re faced with the unexpected. How those issues are handled plays a major factor in the success of your project. Make sure to seek out contractors who are up front about guarantees on their workmanship and have clearly outlined product warranties.
  4. Ask about workers:  Hiring a contractor means you’ll have strangers in your home for days and weeks (or longer), so you need to be sure they’re trustworthy. Many contractors hire subcontractors, which may mean they’re not as thoroughly vetted as company employees. Be sure to ask about the hiring process and background checking.
  5. Check out their past work! Look over their past projects to make sure your design aesthetic jells with theirs. Most contractors will have ample project images posted on their website, Facebook, and Houzz.  [Jamie adds:  Ask if you can see other completed projects like yours in person, too.]

Cooking up even simple kitchens takes complex skills and experience.

I hope this helps you in your search for the right contractor for your home improvement project. Best of luck!

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR FINDING A CONTRACTOR NEAR YOU

National Association of Home Builders Remodelers

National Association of the Remodeling Industry

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Bob Kovacs is the owner of Forge Hill Construction, a custom home builder and remodeler in Northern New Jersey.  

Photos: Courtesy Kohler Co.

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Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold
Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS
San Diego, CA

About the Blogger