Home Planning & Renovations

General Contractor NYC

By Tiffany Smolick


Selecting The Right Contractor

September 21, 2011

Once you’ve decided to remodel your home or apartment, it’s time to find a contractor who will carry out your plans and turn your space into your dream home.

When it comes to hiring someone to do the work, you have two choices: hire a single general contractor, who will complete most of the work of the remodel along with his or her employees, or, hire several subcontractors, each of whom will complete particular portions of the project at hand.

Regardless of whether you choose to work with a single contractor or a group of subcontractors, there are several considerations to take into account. When looking for a good contractor, it’s often a good idea to ask for recommendations. Often you’ll have noticed a neighbor or someone in your general area having just had construction done. You may think about asking those people who they worked with, and whether they were happy with the work done. Once you have a few names, you may seek out references from other homeowners who have worked with a particular contractor to get an idea of his or her professionalism, work ethic, and how happy the homeowners were with the end result.

Primarily, you must verify that your contractor of choice is fully licensed. This means that the contractor should be licensed both with the City of New York as well as the State. Even if your contractor assures you that he or she has all of the necessary licenses, it’s best to actually see the necessary paperwork yourself.

It’s also important to verify that your contractor has the necessary insurance to operate within the workspace. This means that he or she must have worker’s compensation insurance, liability insurance, and property damage insurance. You should always ask for copies of the documentation of each.

In addition to your contractor’s insurance, you should be aware of your homeowner’s insurance and what is covered therein.

Once you have established that your contractor is in good standing with the necessary city and state government agencies, it’s time to get to work. You should feel open to explain what you want out of the project, go over drawings of the project, and present sketches of the space as you see it to the contractor. It’s always a good idea to ask the contractor’s opinion on the plans and the overall scope of the project. It is in these initial conversations that you will be able to gage your contractor’s true interest and excitement for the project.

If you decide to go with a general contractor who will complete most of the work him or herself, it’s also important to get a gage how much of the work the contractor will actually be doing, and how much he or she will be outsourcing to either his or her employees or other subcontractors. The greater the percentage of work that your main contractor is ready to do, the less chance there is that details will get lost in translation between you and the person who is ultimately doing the work.