Characteristics of a Good Contractor
Prompt, Respectful, Organized, Efficient, Skilled.... How do we Find that elusive Great Contractor.
The challenge is that many great contractors do not know how to run their own business. Just because a contractor is talented and skilled when it comes to working on buildings does not mean that they will be a good business person. The truly great contractors have the ability to organize themselves, their crews and their subcontractors. As we have learned (or will hopefully have the opportunity to learn) delegating tasks better handled by others is the way to grow and thrive.
A truly great contractor uses the scope of work to pre-plan for materials and scheduling. Has a timeline and a materials list prepared and ready before walking in the door of any contract, assumes any materials that need to be ordered will take days to weeks longer than estimated, and is prepared with acceptable alternatives. They will respect your time and money. In this day and age, they will be keeping up with communication technologies to maximize their time and schedule and be willing to communicate with you during the whole process.
The subcontractors are responsive to the schedule and respect the contractor enough to be available to fulfill that schedule. The contractor that is good at organizing, scheduling and paying will attract good subcontractors that do the same.
References are always a great way to start the vetting process. Ask them to add references of their suppliers and subcontractors. Make phone calls to those referrals too.
Most good contractors will charge a fair price, allow you to see the books on the project and can agree on profit mark-ups before hand.
Just a few tips from someone in the business. I have worked for and with hundreds of contractors over the years, but have only had the privilege of seeing less than a dozen truly good contractors.