Modular Homes Section

Choosing a General Contractor

One of the biggest benefits to building a modular home is the fact that most of the construction takes place in the manufacturer's factory. This alleviates worries about the home being subjected to damage due to inclement weather conditions, and/or vandalism. Depending on where you are building your home, it also alleviates concerns about the quality of the construction team who builds your home.

Despite the fact that the modular home is built almost entirely at the manufacturing site, there is still a need to employ a general contractor to oversee the construction that takes place at the home site. Choosing your general contractor well will make the on-site construction of your modular home a much less stressful process.

The best place to start when choosing a general contractor for you modular home is to ask the manufacturer you have chosen if he or she has any recommendations. Choosing a contractor who is familiar with the modular home construction process is the best option, and your manufacturer can assist you with finding one who is not only familiar with the process, but that has a proven track record with modular homes.

If your modular home manufacturer is unable to assist you in finding a general contractor in your area, ask around your area about contractors that serve your area. If you see a home building project going up in your area, stop and ask for the contractor's name. Look in the phone book for general contractors who are listed there.

Once you have located a general contractor, whether with assistance from your modular home manufacturer or on your own, set up an appointment to discuss your modular home project. If he or she does not return phone calls, puts off your appointment, or misses an appointment, by all means look elsewhere. If he or she does not seem familiar with modular homes, or, is unfamiliar and does not appear to want to learn, look elsewhere.

The interview with a potential contractor is a job interview, and should be approached as such. Like a job interview, the most important part of the meeting you have with the general contractor is the information you are able to give the contractor, and the questions you ask.

It is important that you have a copy of your home plan, preferably blueprints, available at the the meeting, and arrange to visit the home site if at all possible during this first meeting. Without the home plan or a look at the site, it will be difficult for the contractor to know what he or she is expected to do.

The questions you have for the general contractor will also assist both of you in knowing whether or not he or she is a good fit for the project. While your modular home manufacture can give you some ideas about what to ask, there are some standard questions that you should be prepared to ask, and believe or not, the price of the job is not the most important, although it is of particular interest. Among the questions you should ask are:

  • Do you have professional insurance, including liability and worker's compensation insurance, and can you furnish proof of these policies? The importance of hiring a general contractor who is ensured cannot be stressed enough. Any damage to your home or injury to the contractor or any other employees he or she may use can prove costly to you if he or she is not insured.
  • Are you willing to sign a contract stating what you will be responsible for on the home building project? Getting in writing what the contractor is responsible will prevent confusion when the project is being completed.
  • Can you tell me about a challenge you faced on a previous job and how you resolved it? The contractor's response to this question will tell you a lot about him or her. A contractor who answers that he or she faced no challenges is either amnesiac or is apt to gloss over any problems that may come up during the project. A contractor who blames any challenge faced on others is not likely to take responsibility if a problem comes up on your project, either. A contractor who answers the question honestly is what you are looking for.
  • Are you willing to furnish references from others for who you have worked? Beware any contractor who is unwilling to furnish references. In fact, if he or she cannot or will not furnish references, by all means seek another contractor.

A general contractor's references are very important. When you have these references, check them thoroughly. Ask the homeowners how satisfied they were with both the work and the contractor. If you can, take a look at the home. Ask if there's anything the homeowners wish the contractor had done differently. Ask how prompt the contractor was about showing up for work, about how clean and tidy he or she left the home site, and about any cost overrages that he or she incurred.

Do not stop at the furnished references. Another good way of checking out your potential contractor is to ask the people in your community who inspect homes to rate them move-in safe about the contractor. These people, who include plumbing, electrical, and fire inspectors can tell you a lot about the contractor that homeowners may not know to tell.

When you have found a general contractor whom you are comfortable with, arrange for the contractor to discuss the project with your modular home manufacturer, and then ask your manufacturer his or her opinion about the contractor. The manufacturer will be able to help you determine whether or not the general contractor is suitable for the project by asking questions about details of the project you may or may not be familiar with.

Deciding on a general contractor for your modular home can be a challenge. Doing your homework can help you to narrow down the field and find the contractor that is best for you.

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