Choosing a General Contractor

When building a home, you must hire a general contractor. This is who will be managing your entire project and making sure things get done. This was actually one of the very first steps Delaney and I did in our process. Although, it doesn’t have to be. We are lucky enough to have a friend/regular customer at the bake shop, Derrick, ( who is a general contractor. Over two years ago when we were thinking that we would build a house instead of buying one, we asked him a few questions when he came into the shop one day just. And we ended up scheduling a meeting with him. He was nice enough to answer quite a few questions for us. He sat down with us and went through what the cost would be to build what we were envisioning (based off Delaney’s two dimensional drawing). So we had a ball park idea of what we’d be in for well before we purchased our land. This was so helpful, I can’t even tell you! This allowed me to figure out how much money we’d need in savings and what kind of land budget we had. I would definitely recommend doing this before purchasing land like we did. It really helped us see the full picture.

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Although Derrick was so nice to help out in the beginning, once we purchased our land he was already booked out with other homes. We would have had to wait over a year or two in order to get on his schedule. So, we decided to find a new contractor. This was really scary at first because I was set on that initial quote I got from Derrick. I was worried another contractor would charge way more, or that we wouldn’t find another one we liked. All the fears came rushing in.

However, it slipped my mind I already knew another contractor! He is also a regular customer and has been coming in since we opened. I immediately thought of him and I emailed him to ask about our project. Tim ( was so nice and scheduled a meeting with us right away. He took the notes we had from Derrick and looked them over and he said he would be able to do our project for a better price than we originally got (more on that later). That was the best news ever! Not only is Tim our neighbor in our new neighborhood, but I already knew him and felt really comfortable working with him. I also knew as a neighbor he would want get our house built so he wouldn’t have to look at the eye sore of an empty lot or a half way finished job, haha!

Because I knew both of the contractors I talked to it made my decision a bit easier. If you don’t know your general contractor, make sure to get some references and ask if you can take a look at past projects. Tim built his own house, the one that’s across the street from our lot. And, he offered to take us on a tour to show us what he did inside his house. This was also incredibly helpful as we are taking some ideas from him. One of them, for example, is that he did oversized garage doors, so the doors are taller. Delaney really liked this and we’re doing that in our house. As far as references, well Tim built his own house in nine months (on the weekends, during his free time) is what he told me. I knew that he could be quick and get things done based off of that. And, when we get into construction loans, you’ll see why being quick is going to be a plus. Most construction loans are only for a twelve month period, so you don’t want to take more time than that. Our house is also going to be smaller than Tim’s, so I was confident that he would stay true to his word and time frame that he gave us. It also helped that Derrick gave us the same time frame as Tim. So, we knew that two people doing the same job said it would take the same amount of time and that’s a good thing.

Your general contractor is going to want to see copies of your engineered plans. This is what they’ll use to build your house and also give you a formal bid on the project. Once our plans were finished, we sent them immediately to Tim to check out. You will also need to choose your general contractor before you can submit your plans to the town, as they will be on those forms. So, that’s another reason to not delay and start talking to contractors even before your plans are done.

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