7 Tips for finding the right General Contractor in NYC

Whether you are looking for a baseboard-to-ceiling renovation or a straight forward kitchen remodel for your NYC home, your sanity and satisfaction will directly depend on your ability to hire a reliable, skilled and honest contractor. But first, what is a general contractor and do you find the right one?

For starters, a general contractor is one that specializes in commercial and residential construction and renovation. However, unlike the residential general contractor, a commercial general contractor works on projects such as builds and renovations of corporate offices, schools, retail buildings, restaurants, and more. General contractor, NYC services providers, can however also work on residential and local projects when the need arises. Based on the nature of the project, a contractor will oversee all the aspects of construction and renovations including;

  • Estimating and bidding the project
  • Negotiating contract terms with the owner
  • Hiring and negotiating contracts with subcontractors
  • Obtaining the necessary permits and scheduling inspections
  • Creating a schedule for material deliveries, workers, and subcontractors
  • Establishing a schedule of payment based on work progress
  • Paying material suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Negotiating material costs and ordering materials
  • Supervising and coordinating employees and subs
  • Interpreting specifications and plans
  • Troubleshooting job-site problems


new york commercial constructionWhat you need to know when choosing a General Contractor in NYC

Choosing a general contractor NYC is not easy; I have a heard few horror stories. You are faced with a very critical decision that comes with significant consequences if you go wrong. When it comes to New York City, this consideration is compounded by an abundance of highly competitive contractors to choose from, especially within the commercial sector.

Thankfully, there is a set of criteria you can use to weigh your options and make a smart, calculated and strategic choice. These tips will take you through what to look for to hire a high quality and reliable contractor for your project.

Tips for hiring the best commercial contractor

1. Get referrals, check references and search online

Ask family, friends, neighbors and real estate brokers for referrals. If that is not enough, get online and do a local search using terms like “general contractor in NYC” “commercial general contractors NYC” or “local general contractors NYC” and so on. By whichever means, get at least three bidders and let the background check begin.

When using your friend’s projects as a referral, always keep in mind that your project may significantly vary from theirs, so you should not lean heavily on that. If your project is highly sensitive and big, go ahead and get the names and contacts of the suppliers and subcontractors who work with the general contractor and do some further digging.

2. Make sure NYC general contractors are licensed

Having a certified and licensed commercial contractor is crucial to a successful project. Law in New York requires that commercial contractors acquire licensing and carry a substantial insurance. When considering a general contractor, check online to see that they are licensed and directly request for their insurance verification from the insurance company. Be sure to compare coverage across various contractors as they can vary tremendously.

3. Know the specifics of your project before bringing in a professional.

If you bring in a contractor too early you allow them to dictate a little too much. Learn more about your project, the kind of expertise and materials required, cost estimates, possible timelines, and so on. Having a firm grasp on what your project entails can also help you correctly present the project proposals to potential contractors. Additionally, sufficient project details can help your contractor to understand if your construction or renovation project requires special work approvals, insurance and licensing. In the same breath, knowing your project specifics will help you to put your budgeting, timeline expectations, and paperwork in order.

4. Strength of Local Area Portfolio

When it comes to local general contractors, the proof is the proverbial pudding. Of course, there will always be bigger firms, with bigger teams and bigger offices, but that is not necessarily what counts. In the world of NYC general contracting, quality over quantity is everything. When you have a renovation or construction project within a tight-knit community, you need to find a local contractor who is in tune with the local population, culture, municipalities and all regulatory bodies that can impact your project. You can only verify this by reviewing the contractor’s portfolio of recent local projects. If your potential contractor does not have many projects completed within your local area, then the search must continue.

5. Willingness to Standby an Estimate

It’s acceptable that renovation and construction projects do not come at fixed costs. However, you surely need some well thought out estimates to guide you on your budgeting. Aside from the obvious labor and material, a lot goes into construction and renovation projects. A curate project budget estimate should factor in all the possible cost items from paperwork and site survey to logistics and cash flow management, and everything in between. A good general contractor should have a process in place that can enable them to scale their operations up or down to fit your budget estimates without compromising on quality.

6. Team of Specialty Contractors

When it comes to general commercial contracting companies, the term “jack of all trades” is a good thing. However, when it comes to individual employees within it, specialization is highly appreciated. You want the subcontracted team to comprise of specialists and a management team equipped to handle your particular task. Depending on the nature and scale of your project, you may need an expert engineer, a design consultant, an architect, an area superintendent, a project document controller, a professional estimator, an office administrator and a site manager. Request for a comprehensive breakdown of the expertise, experience, and qualifications of each key player when considering a general contracting company.

7. Have a Detailed Contract in Place Before the actual Work Begins

This might sound obvious, but many people overlook this fact until several weeks into the projects. Have a detailed contract that covers costs, approximate timelines, brands of items used, and the set of drawings being used. The bottom line is, there are never too many details in a contract. The contract sets all the expectations, and when correctly drafted, you should not expect any surprises.

Bottom line for choosing the right General Contractor in NYC

If you follow the above-outlined tips, choosing a New York construction company should not be that difficult. Just do your part and put in place all the information they need to understand your projects and the rest should flow smoothly. If you have any questions before signing the contract, be sure to seek all the necessarily clarifications.

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