Top Questions to Ask a General Contractor & How to Find Them


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What questions should you ask a General Contractor (GC) when looking to hire one to build a property for you, renovate or expand it? How to even find general contractors for your projects? How should you pay them? Jeff Walston from Premise Construction will share his experience with us.

You can read this entire interview here:

What are some of the major things that people should be aware of before hiring a general contractor?
You need to know the right questions to ask. If you're in search for a general contractor, you can go to either your Better Business Bureau or your city commerce centers, they will know a great contractor because they've dealt with them in the past and know that they have a good track record, first and foremost. As far as questions to ask prior to starting the commercial projects:

1. Making sure that they're fully licensed, fully insured, which is general liability, and workman's comp. Regardless if they are even going to be on the job site, you have to have that to protect everyone involved, it's very important.

2. Their experience. If, for instance, you're hiring a contractor, and you want to do a restaurant build out, if they don't have any experience in the restaurant sector of commercial construction, maybe they have just been doing office buildings, you might have a few hiccups going through that whole process, because it's going to be a learning process for them. You need someone to know what they're doing in that specific sector.

3. Once you figure out if they've done those projects, ask to see them, see if he can get references, ask around about their particular companies and do your research on them. It doesn't hurt to Google their company and Google their employees as well, I'd highly recommend that.

What are some questions that people should be asking them to make a decision on which one to pick?
If it's not down to price, if they're close in pricing, and you're just trying to figure out, who am I comfortable with, it's different for every circumstance, it's how you feel about the person that's representing the company. Some questions to consider are:
- What expectations do you want them to have?
- Can they meet your communication expectations?
- Do you want daily updates? Do you want weekly updates? Do you want monthly updates?
- Do you have project managers that are going to be managing our project daily?
- Do you guys still perform work? Or do you subcontract everything out? And if so, how do you manage those subcontractors?
- If they do have subcontractors that they're utilizing, you can ask them, How strong are your subcontractors? Do they show up on time? Are they managed well within their company? Get a feel of what they say about their subcontractors.
- Is every subcontractor fully licensed and insured on your property?
- You also want to see, from a liability standpoint, if they have any safety protocols, and if they do, what are those safety protocols, and maybe even see if you can get their safety protocol to see if everyone's following it. With any commercial property, the public safety for anyone involved in the project is vital for the people working there and the people utilizing the building later.
- When problems arise, how do you handle it? Can you give me an example of the most recent one?

Jeff Walston
Premise Construction

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