When homeowners want to do a home remodel or residential construction project, they usually start by seeking out a list of the top construction companies that are reputable, responsive & honest. Unfortunately finding good construction companies can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. For example, in Los Angeles County alone, there are over 20,000 active construction companies (B-license general contractors) licensed by the State.
Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are looking for the top construction companies in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened home contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience. In this blog, we’ll share some ideas and resources to help guide you in finding the best home improvement contractors for your projects.
How do I find the best construction companies near me?
We get this question all the time and it’s a really great question to ask – finding a good contractor is hard!
Most people have heard horror stories or even know someone personally that’s had a bad experience with a contractor or even a renovation nightmare. So, the most important thing you can do when remodeling or building is to hire the right construction company. There are plenty of bad contractors that could rip you off, deliver poor-quality work, overcharge you or take forever to finish a project. But there are also plenty of good contractors that take the utmost pride in their work and strive to deliver the highest results to make every one of their clients happy.
You obviously want to find a good company. But, with many thousands of contractors in your area, how can you determine the good from all the bad? It’s actually somewhat difficult to find good companies. Why? The best companies are so highly in demand by their customers, they often don’t have the time or need to advertise. And it’s clearly hard to find construction companies that don’t advertise.
The main way to find a list of the best construction companies is to ask your network (family/friends/colleagues) for contractor recommendations. Ideally, someone you know personally can recommend a contractor they’ve hired in the past and were pleased with the service & results. If that construction company did a good job for your friend/family member, you can be relatively confident that they will do a good job for you (especially if it’s for a similar type of project).
If you don’t get enough good recommendations from friends and relatives, consider using a service that performs intensive contractor screening and offers personalized introductions to good home contractors (www.GreatBuildz.com or similar). Don’t just pick a random renovation contractor from a flyer that came in your junk mail or from a nationwide contractor listing site.
How can I tell the top construction companies from the bad ones?
When you narrow your list to three or so contractors and start meeting with them in person, it’s important to take several steps to evaluate each one to determine who will be best for your remodel or construction project. Too many people make this decision purely based on how much they ‘liked’ the contractor or construction company salesperson when they met with them. Although your gut feeling about that person should be part of your decision-making process, it’s just not enough to make an educated hiring decision.
At GreatBuildz, we’ve developed a 10-point vetting process to screen home construction contractors. I suggest every homeowner perform as many of these steps as possible to protect themselves, but at least the following five:
1. Check their reviews! Look them up online and see if you can find reviews on Yelp, Houzz, Google, etc. Read any negative reviews and determine how bad their behavior seems to you… feel free to ask the contractor to explain any bad reviews.
2. Do a contractor license lookup: In California, you should navigate to CSLB License Database. Confirm that the home contractor has an active license without any complaints or derogatory remarks.
3. Get a copy of their insurance certificate and ask their insurance broker to add you as ‘additional insured’.
4. Call at least 3 references and take a look at pictures of their prior work.
5. Interview the owners of the construction companies (or at least the Project Manager who will be your day-to-day contact during the project). Ask them any questions that are important to you.
What else can I expect from the top construction companies?
Based on our experience of finding and vetting the best general contractors, we at GreatBuildz have created a Contractor Code of Conduct. We expect every contractor we invite to our network to sign and agree to all 20 requirements of this ‘Integrity Pledge’. You might consider asking your potential contractor to agree to some or all these requirements before they start working for you. Here are a few of the important points in our Code of Conduct:
- I commit to providing regular, timely, and honest communications with homeowners. I will inform the homeowner of their primary contact person. I commit to responding to homeowner calls/messages/texts/emails within 24 hours.
- I commit to charge a reasonable price for Extras or Change Orders based on my true costs of labor, materials, and profit. I will allow the homeowner two days to research prices to confirm my price estimates are reasonable.
- If the homeowner advises me in a timely manner that he/she has an issue with my quality of work, I will work with the homeowner to come to a mutually agreeable solution and make repairs.
- I agree to provide the homeowner a minimum One-Year warranty on the completed project.
- I agree to obtain any necessary city/county permits for the project and pass all city/county inspections; my construction will meet all building codes.
- I commit to not prioritizing other projects at the detriment/delay of the homeowner’s project.
The bottom line is…you need to do your homework when hiring a construction company for a major residential remodel or building project. This company and its staff will be a part of your life for many months. If you hire the right contractor, you could have a great experience enhancing your home. On the other hand, hiring the wrong team can lead to a remodel nightmare that will cost you time, money and lots of headaches. Talk to the GreatBuildz staff about finding the best Los Angeles Construction Company for your project!
When it comes to finding the best construction companies for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened home improvement contractors and provides project support from start to finish.
Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com