Friday, October 10, 2008


Hiring a General Contractor in New York State

Dear cityhammer,
We've recently purchased an unfinished loft and are planning to do the renovations before we move in. That being said, we need to be in by year-end, and with the amount of work that needs to be done, my husband and I don't have that much time to choose a general contractor. What are the main things to be concerned with or check into before we hire the contracting company?

-LolaGirl56 in Manhattan

Dear LolaGirl56,
Even if your timing is tight, there are a few things that are crucial when hiring a general contractor in New York.

First, try to find a contractor with good feedback and customer reviews online, such as the contractors listed on our mothership site, Next, be sure to check the contractor's license and insurance out using resources like the local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, or the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.

When you've got a short list of gc companies, be sure to have the contractor out to the site to put together an estimate and help you come up with some ideas. Getting estimates over the phone for an unfinished loft renovation is as useful as getting a physical over the internet, so having the contractor come out to the space is very important.

One other must is an itemized bid, rather than just one round figure for the entire project. Itemizing allows the homeowner to track progress, understand cost overruns, and make on-the-fly decisions about priorities once the project is in full swing. For example, if your move-in day starts coming up fast and there are 6 things for the contractor to finish, the itemized list will tell you which ones can be attended to post-move (window treatments, fixture replacement) versus what would have to be done beforehand (life wood flooring).

Good luck with the loft renovation, send us the pics when its finished!

Click for More: Tips for Hiring a General Contractor

Highly Rated Contractors in NY

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