So you’ve made the decision to undertake a home (for sale) improvement project. You did all the right things. You had a few different contractors bid the job. You checked references, contacted the Better Business Bureau, verified proof of insurance, and even went to see some of the chosen contractor’s work. So who is this guy at your house?
He says subcontractors are hired for a variety of reasons — the top two are because your general contractor has too much work to handle using in-house resources OR your job involves some type of specialty work that may be best performed by a specialist. “You wouldn’t want your family doctor doing brain surgery, right,” he asks.
Sub-divide and Conquer!
But just because there’s a logical reason for a subcontractor to be involved doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to be blindsided. “Your general contractor should tell you if he plans on using subs,” says our industry insider. “And if he doesn’t bring it up, you should.”
Many general contractors have small group of subcontractors that they work with regularly. Ask if that’s the case. Explore their relationship and feel free to do you due diligence on the subcontractor too. Ask about insurance and work samples, etc., particularly if this is a specialty item such as custom carpentry or tile work).
According to the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), “more than three-quarters of the construction performed in the United States is performed by subcontractors.” The ASA
“encourages responsible conduct through adherence by subcontractors to standards of practice.” You can (and should) read the entire list here (http://www.asacarolinas.com/ReviewNavigation/standards.htm) so that you know what you should expect and can ask intelligent questions.
And asking questions is crucial, says our contractor friend. “You’ve gotta ask,” he says. “And the more you’re spending, the more questions you should be asking.”
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara