Madison Contruction

Chicago General Contractor: 7 Signs Your Contractor isn’t the Best

When it comes to hiring a Chicago general contractor for your next build, you deserve the peace of mind of knowing that you have hired the best. Unfortunately, not all general contractors are the best (even though they would have you believe otherwise). As the top Chicago construction management firm, we here at Madison Construction regularly manage general contractors and over the years we have learned how to very quickly weed out those subpar contractors. Today we want to share a little bit of that knowledge with you to help you to select the best general contractor in Chicago for your build.

Chicago General Contractor: 7 Signs Your Contractor isn’t the Best

1. They Undercut Other General Contractors by a LOT

General contractors have expenses and, like everyone else, they need to make a profit off every job they take. If a general contractor who bids on your job makes a bid that is much lower than all of your other bids, take that as a red flag and move on.

These types of contractors make such low bids for a number of reasons:

  • They are desperate for work – a bad sign!
  • They are using subpar materials or materials of questionable origin.
  • They are subcontracting to or employing underqualified laborers.
  • They intend to add additional charges on your final bill.

You don’t have to choose the most expensive general contractors nor do you have to avoid contractors with the lowest bids, but you should be wary of contractors that undercut the competition by a significant amount.

2. They Underestimate Build Time

When taking bids from contractors, you should be able to get a general idea of how long your build is expected to take. Much like pricing, though, if a contractor quotes you a build time that is much shorter than the other contractors, be wary. Some contractors will underestimate the time it will take to complete a build in order to get a contract. This almost always results in on-site safety issues, missed deadlines, and rushed construction in order to meet unrealistic deadlines. All of these situations are bad news for your build.

3. They Overcommit

It’s not uncommon for general contractors to work on multiple jobs at once, but it’s important that you don’t hire a contractor who is overcommitted. For example, if you have a project that is time-sensitive and your timeline is fairly short, you don’t want to hire a contractor who is also working on five other builds. Instead, you want to ensure that your project is the only one that your contractor works on during this time frame. Even if you aren’t on a rushed timeline it’s still important to make sure that your contractor isn’t overcommitted so that your project gets the attention it deserves.

4. They Don’t Have Experience

When it comes to your construction project, you need a general contractor who has experience. Not just experience as a general contractor, but experience with the type of build you are undertaking. This doesn’t just give you the assurance that a contractor knows what they are doing, but it gives you a visual reference of the type of work they can do and peace of mind that they can overcome any unique challenges presented by this type of project.

There are those who say that a new general contractor has to begin somewhere and while this is true, that somewhere should not be on your multi-million dollar build.

5. They Are Difficult to Find

Whether we’re talking about the finding your contractor on a job site or getting hold of them on the phone, if your contractor is difficult to get hold of, it doesn’t bode well for your project. When your build is underway you need to know that you can get in touch with your contractor at a moments notice and you need to know that they will be present on your worksite throughout the build.

If a contractor is difficult to get hold of in response to their bid on your project, throw out their bid and look to other contractors. If you have already hired a contractor and they are proving difficult to get hold of or reluctant to show up on the job site, it’s time to reconsider their employment.

6. They Neglect to Mention Permits

Your build is going to require permits and building without those permits is not an option. This is why it’s important that you hire a general contractor who is familiar with the permits needed for your job. Hiring a contractor who is unfamiliar with permits or a contractor who poo-poo’s the idea of permits is not just bad news for your build, but it’s bad news for your wallet too. Building without the necessary permits means hefty fines and in many cases, tearing down the work that’s been done.

7. A Lack of References

When hiring a general contractor for your build, it’s important that they are able to provide you with a list of references that can speak to their work and their work ethic. If a contractor is unwilling or unable to provide you with any references, then it’s a good indication that they aren’t the right contractor for your build. You should be looking for a contractor who has glowing references from reputable companies and individuals.

References aren’t just a way for you to see a portfolio of previous work, but they’re a personal contact who can give you a good idea of what it will be like to work with a contractor. Any contractor can bluff their way through a resume or even a portfolio, but reputable references are a little harder to fake.

Need a Professional Construction Management Company to Manage Your Chicago General Contractor and Construction Team?

If you are in need of an experienced and trustworthy construction management firm to manage your general contractor and your construction team, Madison Construction can help. Just give us a call today at (708)535-7716 and let us take care of the job for you.

Not sure about relinquishing the responsibility to anyone else? Take a look at how our construction management services work and put your fears to rest.

Back to News