Understanding What Your General Contractor Says

Unless you have been around contractors your whole life, it may take a little general contractor education to be savvy to the things one might say to you when they are working on a project at your home.


Understanding what your general contractor says


Here are a few common things you might here when you talk to your contractor and the hidden meanings that may be behind the words.

  • I can start on August 1 and we will finish September 19 (or any other specific date): A good general contractor will know how long a typical project will take them. They will often give you a start and finish date and in most instances, will uphold those dates. There are factors that can alter that date such as materials not being delivered on time or being out of stock or subcontractors not upholding their end of the work.
  • I believe we should do the job this way instead of the way you mentioned: A general contractor who has the right qualifications and experience will usually know how to best tackle a task and most will let their customers know quickly when they see a better way to do something than what the customer may want them to do. If you want to have the job handled the right way, it is usually better to have the contractor work the project the way he suggests so it will be taken care of correctly.
  • I’ll do my best to get this the way you want it: Most of the time, if a contractor says something like this it may mean that you, the customer, are asking for them to do something that is not exactly doable in the way you want it done. If what you want is over the top and not realistic, you may want to rethink your plan and work it through with the contractor.
  • I think we need to change a few things: If your contractor says something like this to you, it probably means that what you want is something that is not going to happen the way you want it to happen. This is usually a time to sit down with the contractor and find out what he thinks should happen to make your project happen as closely as possible to what you want.
  • I can do this job for ____amount of money: When a contractor offers a price for a project, be prepared for the price to change if the cost of materials changes or if the subcontractors will not work for the rate the contractor expects them to work. Prices for building materials move up and down periodically, so if the project needs a longer time to complete, chances are the cost can rise or even drop based on raw materials.

When you need to be partnered with the best general contractor in your immediate area, be sure to fill out the form on this page and a contractor specialist will assist you with finding a qualified, licensed and insured general contractor for your building or remodel project.