A general contractor is a professional who signs a contract with the owner and takes the responsibility of completing the entire construction project for the bid price. In other words, a general contractor buys the building materials, hires construction workers and subcontractors and gets the work done. The subcontractors answer only to the general contractor and not to the owner.
A general contractor also acquires permits, creates a schedule for the subcontractors and the workers and lays out a plan for the completion of the project. He supervises and coordinates with the subcontractors and sorts out issues at the construction site.
One of the most important decisions behind the success of a construction project is the choosing the right contractor. This decision would have a great impact on the success of failure of the construction project. If the contractor lacks the skills or the integrity, the project might not be successful even with the best plans and a lavish budget.
When hiring a contractor you are looking for a professional who is competent, reliable and trustworthy. Therefore it is good to start with friends, acquaintances or neighbors who have renovated their homes, or remodeled parts of their homes and get information on contractors and the quality of their work. While interviewing a contractor you should make sure you get information; such as, if they could provide you with a list of their previous clients, their experience in the field and the number of projects they have worked on, and if they provide financial references from banks and their suppliers. This information would help you identify a reliable contractor.
When you begin the bidding process look into every detail to get a more accurate bid; the kinds of materials that you want and even the brand names that you would like to have. This would help you get an accurate bid and also understand the cost of the materials that are being used and the profit margin. You would also be able to identify if the bid is realistic and if there is an adequate allowance for the purchase of the materials you have chosen.