17 Mar Ten Tips for Selecting Contractors on Kauai
There are some important things to think about when selecting contractors on Kauai. It’s an important decision. You are embarking on a very large, complex, and expensive project. If you are building a house or a commercial building, you are going to be married to your contractor for the next 6-12 months.
You want to ask questions and think about some key things to decide whether you and your contractor will have a good relationship. You want someone with the correct licenses and skills and who also has the right “soft” skills that make them a good fit with your style and needs.
Here are some key items to look for and consider when meeting general contractors:
- Will they communicate with you weekly, or daily, if needed? Do they communicate clearly and frequently? Do they give you all the information you need to know/ Do they provide the information and alternatives you need to make decisions? Will they openly communicate both good news and obstacles to progress? If you are remote, how will they communicate with you?
- How organized are they? Does the contractor have processes and tools in place to stay organized? How do they keep track of and communicate progress? How do they schedule materials orders? How do they keep track of and handle sub-contractor lien waivers?
- Is the contractor’s information understandable? Does the contractor explain things in ways that you can easily understand? Do they use plain language and take the time to explain how different choices could impact your project? Is the contractor’s bid clear and understandable? Do you understand what will happen when, how obstacles will be dealt with, how payments will be made, how you will communicate with each other, how change orders will be handled, and exactly what you are paying for?
- Is the contractor open to suggestions? If you notice something that could be improved or a product that could be useful or a scheduling improvement, is your contractor open to taking suggestions and incorporating suggestions that will benefit both of you?
- How will the contractor help you to get best prices? If cost management is important to you, is the contractor on your side? Will the contractor work with different suppliers to get materials and services with optimal prices, reliability, and delivery times? Will they pass savings back to you for any re-pricing in your favor?
- Will the contractor provide recommendations and ideas? If your contractor has worked on other projects like yours, he/she should be able to provide recommendations and ideas based on experience. Will your contractor research and recommend the best products and services for your budget or will that be solely your or your architect’s responsibility? Is your contractor just an order-taker or will he/she collaborate and work on value engineering of your project plans?
- How transparent is the contractor with information about your project? Does the contractor give you a big number, take your money, and then go off to do it? Or does the contractor provide an itemized bid that shows where money is being allocated, timeframes and dependencies, and provides ongoing visibility to costs and schedules?
- Do you trust this contractor? This may be the single most important factor on the list. You are entering into a long-term relationship with substantial financial commitments and risks. If things work well or if things go wrong, do you trust this contractor to collaborate, to work in your mutual best interests, and to do the right thing?
- How hands-on is the contractor? How involved will the contractor be with the day-to-day operations of your project? How many projects are they managing at once? How is each project being managed? How often are they on-site? How often are they communicating with the sub-contractors? How are they ensuring that required inspections are done and that work is being completed with the desired quality?
- Does the contractor have good references? Call references and hear directly how the relationship went for other clients. Were they satisfied with the trust, transparency, and results that they got? Were there things they would have liked to happen differently?
From our experience these are some good factors for you to consider when selecting contractors. With these in mind, you should be able to find a great partner to have a good relationship and a successful project!