Building a Good Relationship with Your General Contractor

When you embark on a home renovation project, one of the key relationships you’ll need to build is with your general contractor. They play a crucial role in making sure your project runs smoothly and according to plan. However, building a good relationship with your contractor takes time and effort from both parties. In this blog, we’ll cover the steps you can take to choose the right general contractor for your project, how to establish a healthy working relationship with them, and tips for managing your renovation project effectively. Let us guide you towards building a successful partnership with your general contractor for a stress-free home renovation experience.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties with reliable remodeling companies, we employ a thorough contractor screening process and help homeowners have a positive remodeling experience– here are some tips from our experience.

Contractors working on construction project with permits

Understanding the Role of a General Contractor

Hiring a general contractor can save you valuable time and reduce stress during the construction process. They are responsible for coordinating subcontractors and ensuring that the project stays on schedule. They handle all the necessary documentation and permits required for the project. They are also responsible for resolving any issues or conflicts that may arise during the construction phase. With their expertise in construction management and project coordination, general contractors ensure that the project is executed smoothly and successfully.

The Difference Between Contractors, Subcontractors, and Workers

When undergoing a construction project, it’s important to understand the roles and responsibilities of each party involved. Contractors are responsible for overseeing the entire construction project, from start to finish. They manage the project, coordinate subcontractors, obtain permits, and handle all necessary documentation. Subcontractors, on the other hand, are hired by the general contractor to complete specific tasks or trades, such as plumbing or electrical work. Workers, who are typically employees of the contractor or subcontractors, are the individuals who physically perform the construction work on site. Contractors and subcontractors may be licensed and insured, while workers may not be.

Steps to Choosing the Right General Contractor

When hiring a general contractor, it’s crucial to follow a few steps to ensure you choose a qualified candidate. Begin by verifying their license, insurance, and bonding to protect yourself and your investment. Ask for references from past clients to gauge their satisfaction with the contractor’s work. Additionally, review the quality of their past projects to assess their capabilities. Obtain multiple estimates to compare prices and services provided by different contractors. Lastly, carefully review the scope of work offered by each contractor to ensure it aligns with your project needs.

Contractor Insurance Paperwork

Verify License, Insurance, and Bonding

One of the most important steps in managing your general contractor is verifying their license, insurance, and bonding. Check with the state licensing board to ensure that the contractor’s license is valid and up-to-date. Additionally, ask the contractor to provide proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. This will give you peace of mind knowing that they are qualified and protected. It’s also important to verify that the general contractor is bonded, which will protect against any financial losses. Taking these precautions is the best way to ensure a successful and worry-free construction project.

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Ask for References

Asking for references from your general contractor is an essential step. References provide valuable insights into the contractor’s professionalism and reliability. Request references from past clients who have worked with the general contractor and make it a point to contact them. Inquire about their experience and satisfaction with the contractor’s services. Ask specific questions about communication, timeliness, and the quality of work delivered. Hearing from others who have firsthand experience working with the contractor can help you make an informed decision.

Check Past Projects

When hiring a general contractor, it’s essential to check their past projects to get an idea of their capabilities and expertise. Take the time to look at photos or even visit these projects to assess the quality of workmanship and attention to detail. Consider the style and design of past projects to ensure they align with your vision.

Blue cabinets in a remodeled kitchen in LA

Obtain Multiple Estimates

Obtaining multiple estimates allows you to compare prices and services offered by different contractors, helping you determine if the quotes provided are reasonable and competitive. Moreover, obtaining multiple estimates also gives you room to negotiate and potentially secure a better deal. This way, you can be confident that you are getting the most value for your dollars and starting your project on the right foot.

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Clarify the Scope of Work

It’s important to get a detailed written proposal from your contractor before signing a contract, outlining all aspects of the project. This includes understanding the tasks and responsibilities the contractor will handle, such as obtaining permits, scheduling, walk-throughs, inspections, and more.

If there are any ambiguous or unclear items, be sure to clarify them to avoid misunderstandings later on. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about unfamiliar terms or processes to ensure mutual understanding. Additionally, it’s crucial to establish who will be providing what in terms of materials, so you know what the contractor will provide and what you’ll be expected to order.

Review The Contract

Reviewing the contract is essential to protect your interests and avoid potential disputes. A well-written contract shows the contractor’s professionalism and commitment. Take note of specific terms, conditions, and exclusions mentioned. Pay attention to key milestones, deadlines, and payment schedules. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or negotiate terms before signing. Seek legal advice if needed for a clear understanding. Remember, it’s always a good idea to dot your i’s and cross your t’s in the construction industry.

construction contract signature

Establishing a Healthy Working Relationship with Your Contractor

Finding a contractor who effectively communicates is essential. Clearly defining expectations and maintaining trust throughout the project helps ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s important to establish and respect professional boundaries for a smooth working relationship. Being open and flexible when unexpected challenges arise can go a long way in resolving issues. Providing constructive feedback, both positive and negative, is also a good idea to improve the partnership.

Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is key when managing a renovation project. Keep an open line of communication with your contractor to address concerns and changes. Respond promptly to keep the project on track. Use clear language and confirm everything in writing. Schedule regular progress meetings to stay updated on the project’s status.

Set Expectations and Maintain Trust

From the start, clearly define the project scope, timeline, and budget to ensure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the contractor’s work process and expectations for communication and site access. Consider setting up a group text, or email, to ensure clear communication across the board.

It’s also important to keep an open mind and be willing to compromise on minor details in order to make progress. Respect your contractor’s expertise and experience, but don’t be afraid to provide clear input and feedback. Address any concerns promptly and professionally and celebrate successes along the way to maintain a positive working relationship.


Woman Signing Invoice In Kitchen

Maintaining Professional Boundaries

Respecting your contractor’s time and availability is crucial to maintaining professional boundaries. It’s important to keep communication channels clear and open, but avoid contacting them outside of business hours. Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved helps prevent unnecessary miscommunications. When conveying concerns or requests to your contractor or their team, always do so professionally and respectfully. Address each concern individually instead of letting difficulties accumulate. Avoid discussing unrelated matters – deal with the issue at hand.

Be Flexible

Being flexible is an important aspect of the renovation process. Recognize that changes or unexpected circumstances may occur during the project, and maintain realistic expectations. Unforeseen events, like weather delays, may require adjustments to the timeline or project scope. It’s crucial to be open to discussing alternative solutions or adjustments to the original plan and consider the contractor’s professional recommendations and expertise.

Remember, you both have the same end goal in mind, so focus on finding mutually beneficial solutions to keep the project on track. Building a successful partnership requires flexibility and adaptability.

Give Feedback

Providing feedback to your contractor is essential to your renovation project – it is important to discuss their progress and quality of work by offering constructive feedback. Be sure to give specific examples when giving any negative feedback to help them improve. Waiting until the end of the project to address any concerns is not advisable; instead, address issues as they arise. Additionally, showing appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments can go a long way in maintaining a positive working relationship.

Couple Discussing Project with Contractor

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Managing Your Home Renovation Project

To successfully manage your home renovation project, it’s crucial to stay organized and create a detailed plan and schedule. This will help you keep track of tasks and ensure everything stays on track. Additionally, it’s important to stay observant and regularly monitor the progress of the project. By doing so, you can address any issues or make necessary adjustments in a timely manner. When choosing materials and fixtures for your renovation, be sure to select options that align with both your goals and budget. This will help you achieve the desired results without breaking the bank.

Be Organized and Observant

To stay on top of things, create a project binder to keep all important documents, contracts, change orders, and receipts in one place. This will help you retrieve information easily and stay organized throughout the project. Take photos throughout the renovation process to track the progress and ensure the quality of work. By being organized and observant, you can ensure a smooth and successful construction project.

Choosing Materials

When it comes to choosing materials and fixtures for your renovation, there are a few key points to consider. First, take the time to research and select materials and fixtures that fit both your style and budget – it’s important to strike a balance between aesthetics and affordability.

Additionally, consider the durability and functionality of the materials you choose – you want to ensure that they will withstand the test of time and meet your ongoing needs. Consult with your general contractor throughout the process to ensure compatibility of the chosen materials. Lastly, be proactive and order materials early to prevent any potential delays in your renovation project.

Marble Sink, Brushed Chrome Faucet

Dealing with Changes in Plan

Ensure that any desired changes are promptly communicated to your general contractor. Evaluate the practicality and financial implications of the proposed modifications. It is important to be prepared for unforeseen changes that may arise during the renovation process. Have a discussion with your contractor about how unexpected changes will affect both the project timeline and budget. Collaborating with your contractor is crucial in finding optimal solutions that minimize disruptions. Keep in mind that construction management requires adapting to changes and working alongside your project manager.


Reviewing the Work Regularly

To ensure your vision is being realized during the construction process, it is essential to stay involved and review the work regularly. Regular reviews allow for timely adjustments, corrections, and identification of any potential issues or deviations from the plan. Schedule weekly or bi-weekly walk-throughs with your contractor in advance, and make sure to document these sessions for future reference.

By staying actively engaged and proactive in reviewing the work, you can maintain the quality and progress of your project. This level of engagement is crucial for effective construction management and a successful outcome.

Contractor Walk Through

Payments and Schedule

Staying on top of payments shows your commitment to the project and helps maintain a good working relationship. Timely payments are crucial for keeping the project on schedule. This not only ensures that the project progresses smoothly but also helps build trust between you and your contractor. However, this trust goes both ways – your contractor should be hitting agreed-upon project milestones before the corresponding payment installments are made.


How to Handle Disputes with Your Contractor?

Resolving conflicts with your contractor in a professional manner is crucial for a successful project. Start by addressing concerns openly and honestly. Document and communicate your issues effectively. Seek compromise for a mutually beneficial solution. If needed, consider mediation or arbitration for fair resolution.

Resolving Issues Professionally

Resolving issues professionally is crucial for maintaining a positive working relationship with your general contractor. Instead of playing the blame game, focus on finding solutions that benefit both parties involved. Keeping emotions in check and approaching disagreements with a calm mindset can help facilitate productive discussions. Remember to collaborate with your contractor to find win-win solutions that address any concerns or challenges that may arise.


Contractor and Homeowner Discussing Project

Have an Honest Conversation with the Contractor

It’s important to address any concerns you may have and express your expectations, preferences, and issues – start by having an honest conversation with your contractor about any issues that arise. By engaging in clear and open dialogue, you can foster a positive atmosphere and build trust. Remember to be receptive to feedback and willing to compromise when necessary. Regular and honest conversations help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Document and Communicate your Concerns

When working with a general contractor, it is crucial to document and communicate your concerns effectively. By documenting your concerns in writing, you create a clear record of discussions and agreements, which can be incredibly useful in resolving disputes if they arise. Promptly communicating your concerns helps prevent the escalation of issues, allowing them to be addressed more efficiently. When expressing your concerns, be as specific and detailed as possible to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Ask for a Resolution and Follow Up

When you encounter an issue with your general contractor, approach them with a request for resolution. Clearly communicate your desired outcome or solution, so they understand your expectations. Set clear expectations and timelines for the resolution process, ensuring everyone is on the same page. Following up regularly is key to ensuring progress is being made. Once a resolution has been reached, move on from the issue – it’s best not to dredge up past problems when trying to push forward and complete the project.

Happy couple opening oven in kitchen

Let Us Help You Have a Positive Renovation Experience

Building a good relationship with your general contractor is essential for the success of your construction project. Clear communication, trust, and mutual respect are key factors in establishing a positive working relationship. Make sure to choose a general contractor who is licensed, insured, and bonded. Ask for references and review their past projects to ensure their work meets your standards.

Throughout the project, regularly review the work and communicate any concerns or issues that arise. Handle disputes professionally, and document your concerns as well as any resolutions. By following these steps, you can build a strong and collaborative relationship with your general contractor and have a successful renovation project.

If you’re looking for a contractor for your remodel, or even if you’ve just started planning a home renovation project in Los Angeles, Ventura, or Orange County give GreatBuildz a call. Our helpful staff can help make sure you’re in good hands.


Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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