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31 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor in Dallas, TX

Whether it’s a small renovation, extension, or complete home build, one thing you can’t afford to get wrong is the contractor. Finding a general contractor in Dallas, Texas, is as easy as googling “general contractor Dallas TX.” While finding a contractor is certainly not rocket science, finding the right contractor for the job is where things get a bit tricky.

You’ve probably heard stories of people who spent loads of money on their dream homes and ended up with a ramshackle habitat at best. Well, that’s exactly what you get when you hire the wrong contractor for the job. In fact, that’s the best-case scenario if you get a somewhat decent contractor.

Some folks have ended up with costly lawsuits after signing up with the wrong group. Remember, homeowners can become liable for the contractor’s injuries or deaths. However, all these mishaps are avoidable if you ask the right questions before hiring your contractor.

In this piece, we’ll be highlighting essential general contractor questions you should ask before signing any papers. That way, you can ensure you get your money’s worth and avoid fraud.

1. Can I see Your License and Insurance?

First things first, make sure the contractor can furnish you with all the necessary licenses and insurance. Regardless of the size of your project, any contractor without a license could put you in financial turmoil. In Texas, there’s no licensing at the state level, but most municipalities require general contractors to have licenses.

It’s a good idea to check with your municipality and county to find out about the licensing regulations in your area. Even if a license isn’t mandatory for general contractors in your area, always pick the contractor with the license. Also, double-check if the name on the license matches the contractor’s name and license number as well.

Licenses aside, avoid contractors without proper insurance. A contractor without insurance is a lawsuit waiting to happen. At the very least, the contractor should have workers’ compensation to protect you from liability in case of any injury or fatality.

2. Tell Me About Your Business?

Asking the contractor about their business will help give you a picture of who you’re working with. Find out how much experience the contractor has, or for how long the business has been running. However, make sure you first understand the distinction between time in business and experience.

A proper indicator of experience is the number and variety of projects the contractor has worked on. Time in business is just how many years have passed since the business first started. As you’ve probably guessed, experience is way more important than time when it comes to the construction industry.

Don’t be shy to ask for a few verifiable references. The keyword is verifiable, which means references that you can actually call and speak to. Also, ask to see any reviews or testimonials if applicable.

If the contractor seems a bit feisty about giving you this information, then move to the next guy. Always ask for proof for everything the contractor claims.

3. What Is Your Schedule?

The best way to determine a contractor’s organizational skills is to ask about their work schedule. Find out how the contractor lays out, organizes, and follows up on their work schedule. A mismanaged plan will drag on forever and cost you a lot of time and money.

With most contractors, the superintendent is the person in charge of creating, updating, and following up on the schedule. Have a word with the contractor’s superintendent and manager to see if they are up to the task.

A contractor that follows a critical path schedule is one you can trust in. A critical path schedule is a sequence of critical operations that must be completed for the project to finish on time. It identifies aspects of the project that shouldn’t be compromised for it to complete successfully and within schedule.

4. Who Will Work on the Project and Who Are the Subcontractors?

A large contractor probably handles several projects in your area simultaneously. This means that it’s hard to tell precisely which team will work on your project. Sometimes crews may switch halfway through the project.

It’s best to have the same crew work for you throughout the entire project. That’s the only way to ensure consistency and continuity in the project. Apart from knowing the crew, it also helps to have a list of the subcontractors working on your project.

Knowing the subcontractors helps give you a bit of control over the project. However, if you get a good contractor, you can almost be sure of good subcontractors.

5. How Does the Construction Crew Work?

Knowing the construction crew that will work on the project is part of the process. You also have to know more about how the construction crew will conduct their work. You don’t have to understand intricate bits of the construction process, but just the general work methodology.

For renovation projects, some processes may be a bit intrusive. That means you may have to vacate the house, at least until some part is complete. If you get details about the work plan, then you can make prior arrangements for such scenarios, if need be.

When the weather is hot in Texas, some construction crews like to start working as early as possible. If you’re a heavy sleeper, the early work might disrupt your precious sleep. If you know details about their work schedule, you can ask them to push their starting time.

If the crew works even on weekends, then you might have to brace yourself for very noisy weekends. You may have to reschedule your barbecues or ask them to skip work on weekends. It also helps to know how and when the crew will clean up after work.

6. What Is Included in the Contract?

The contract contains all the details about the scope of work, payment details, and the entire agreement. If you can’t go through the entire contract, then you can ask what’s included in the contract.

Apart from the usual stuff, the contract should also contain additional information. For instance, it should contain details on who should seek permits. The contractor should also explain to you who will be overseeing site inspections.

If the contract outlines the period of completion, then the better it is for you. The contractor should take the time to explain everything you want to know in detail. If you don’t understand segments of the contract, you can always ask a pro.

7. What Is Your Contract Delivery Method?

Contract delivery is how the contractor aims to deliver their part of the contractual agreement. You can break down contract delivery methods into three main types. The delivery methods are as follows:-

Guaranteed Maximum Prices

Guaranteed maximum price is also known as GMAX delivery. The contractor agrees with you that the project won’t exceed a specific amount. The contractor gives the breakdown of the project costs to the owner for consent.

If the project finishes for a less amount, then the contractor and the client share the excess. This is a win-win delivery method that most people prefer.

Lump-sum Delivery

This is the most common contract delivery method. The contractor stipulates a fixed price for the project. The contractor doesn’t have to disclose the breakdown of the price.

The contractor keeps anything excess if he completes the job with a less amount than the fixed price.

Cost

The cost of the project is the sum of the actual cost of construction plus the contractor’s profit. This delivery method may work to your disadvantage. That’s because you’ll have to pay for any surprises along the way.

If the contract delivery method doesn’t sit well with you, you could always ask the contractor to change the method. If the contractor is adamant about that delivery method, then you can find a new contractor.

8. What Is the Payment Schedule?

Once you establish the contract delivery method, you can now ask for the payment schedule. It’s super important that you understand the payment terms before any work can commence.

Any reputable contractor shouldn’t demand upfront payment without breaking ground. However, it’s important to discuss the payment terms before work begins.

These payment terms should include the cost of the project, dates of payments, and the methods of payment. Most contractors will request payment after completion of each stage of the project. The payment schedule will assist you in your financial organization.

9. Does the Contract Come With Any Warranties?

Construction work is complex and technical, and at any moment, anything could go wrong. This is made worse by the fact that many crews will be working on your project simultaneously. Warranties ensure that the quality of work is guaranteed.

If there are any warranties, ensure that they cover both the contractor and the subcontractors’ work. Also, ensure that the fixtures and installations also have warranties, especially electric devices. Have the contractor delve into the details of these warranties before agreeing to anything.

10. What Problems Does the Contractor Foresee?

Very rarely does the construction process go seamless. Even the best company might have one or two hiccups before finishing the project. It’s okay for the contractor to be optimistic but not overly optimistic.

Asking the contractor this simple question will help you understand how well they understand the project. You can also brace yourself for any potential hurdles and put the appropriate measures in place. It will also speak volumes about the contractor’s preparedness to overcome challenges during construction.

The contractor should explain to you how they expect to mitigate any of the potential problems. They should also stipulate how these hurdles could affect the project’s cost and who will pay for it. If there’s a clear plan to address these challenges, then you’re in the right hands.

11. What Is Your Communication Protocol?

For large projects, the contractor should have a well-established communication protocol. Effective communication is at the core of any successful construction project. Be on the lookout for contractors that use the latest communication technology.

Contractors with highly-technological communication protocols have excellent project coordination. For instance, some contractors have special software that produce drawings, documents, even RFIs accessible through their phones. This means that team members don’t have to reach out to each other physically to get essential project documents.

12. Does the Contractor Manage Clash Detection?

Large projects can quickly turn chaotic without a proper clash detection setup. A well-planned setup will prevent construction crews from clashing into each other's work and schedules while on-site. All things have their proper order and this is true when it comes to construction projects.

Contractors utilize special software to facilitate their clash detection. Find out if they have this type of software or what they do to prevent clashing during the job. These field conflicts end up being very costly and delay project completion, so it’s important to ask this question from the start.

13. How Will You Protect My Property?

This is one of the hardest questions to ask the contractor because it may seem like you don't have much faith in the contractor. However, that’s the only way you can ensure that your property remains intact throughout the entire construction phase.

The contractor should take reasonable steps to protect your property during construction. They should also be willing to take full responsibility for any damage to your property.

You should inquire whether:

  • They’ll advise you if anything needs to be relocated to avoid potential damage
  • They’ll cover furniture with tarps
  • They’ll lock all doors when leaving your property

These are just a few questions you should ask concerning the protection of your property. You are just as responsible for the protection of your property as your contractor.

14. What Is Your Dispute Resolution Process?

A contractor should have a well-structured process to resolve disputes. You’d be surprised how common disputes are with contractual agreements. So before you sign the papers, inquire about the contractor’s dispute resolution process.

Steer clear from any contractor without this important process. In case of any dispute, you might be on the losing end.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Your general contractor Dallas TX These questions

Armed with these questions to ask a general contractor before hiring, you can weed out the sub-par contractors from the great ones. Remember, it’s your right to ask these questions, so don’t hold anything back. Take note of any red flags and only accept verifiable and complete answers.

The right answers equals the right general contractor Dallas TX. For world-class construction and renovations, request service today, and we’ll sort you out.