Living in Hawai‘i is both beautiful and amazing; you have the luck of spending every day in paradise.
But if you are buying, building, or remodeling a home, it can be a scary and costly endeavor.
Whether you are building a home, doing a remodel, or just have some general questions, finding a good and trustworthy general contractor (GC) in Hawai‘i can be stressful and overwhelming.
You may have heard horror stories about unreliable, unresponsive, or just bad general contractors. But among the bad, there are good.
Below I will show you some ways to find a good GC so you can feel good about your decision and rest easy as you move forward with your construction project.
Good buildings come from good people, and all problems are solved by good design.
Check Them Out Online
Make Sure They are Licensed
Unfortunately, some businesses may not even be licensed or may have had their license revoked.
It’s a good idea to take a few minutes to check them out online before making a costly decision.
Visit Their Website
Do they have a website?
It can tell you a lot about a company:
- Does it look professional? A website gives you the confidence to know they are in good standing and care about what they do.
- Does it have pictures of their projects? If so, they aren’t afraid to showcase their projects and take pride in their work.
- How about an ‘About Me’ page? It’s often a great way to meet the team you may work with, front and center or behind the scenes. It also shows you if the company cares about its employees.
- Are any awards displayed? Often a company will display the awards they’ve won and accolades they’ve received.
- How about reviews? A good company will often post reviews from some of their clients. As I mention below, I always read reviews, and you should too!
Take some time to browse their website and see what you think. It can show a lot about their passion and professionalism.
Read Their Reviews
I don’t know about you, but I read reviews about everything that I purchase before spending the money, why should this be any different?
Maybe you already read through some on their website, but it’s still worth looking for more in a few places.
- Houzz — Many GC’s have a page on Houzz (a website for home building) which can make for a company website, complete with information about the company and reviews.
- Facebook – If they don’t have any of the above, do they have a Facebook page?
- You can also check Google and Yelp to see if they have any reviews there.
Get a Personal Feel
Get ‘Word of Mouth’ Feedback
‘Word of mouth’ feedback is valuable, and worth taking the time to find.
Do you know anybody that has had work done in your area?
Ask around. Ask if anybody has worked with a contractor you are thinking about, or ask if anyone has any recommendations.
Advertising and marketing are great, but nothing beats good old fashioned word of mouth.
And if not, don’t feel bad asking for references…
Check Their References
Hey, we know references can feel a little easy, but that doesn’t mean they’re not being honest!
So ask the general contractor if they can give you 2–3 references, call them and have a chat!
See what they say. Ask about communication, the overall project, and other talking points on this page.
Are They Responsive?
Are they responsive? Do they answer your questions in a timely manner and seem like they care? It may be a warning sign if you aren’t getting timely responses and it could be a sign of things to come.
What do their reviews say? How about their references?
Some may just be too busy.
Some just do not care, and it shows right up front if you are paying attention.
The sweet spot is to find a contractor that set themselves up to take care of you, busy or not, and (just as importantly) care about you and your project.
Do They Value Honesty?
In your initial conversations do they seem honest? Are they up front about additional costs and challenges you could face? Many projects run into unexpected hiccups.
It’s important to have a GC that will be up front with you about the issues as they arise.
If they are honest in your early conversations, it could be a good sign of things to come.
Are They Open to Site Visits?
Do they jump at the chance to show you some of their past work? Even meeting their current or past clients in the process?
If so, they are likely proud of their work, and have nothing to hide, and have good relationships with their clients, old and new.
Do They Have Open Communication?
Open and consistent communication can make or break a project. We have seen situations where the client never hears from their selected contractor.
This can cause you frustration and potential issues on your project.
The homeowner – general contractor relationship is important…
Which brings me to my next point.
Things to Keep in Mind
Cheapest Isn’t Always The Best
Cheapest isn’t always the best – nor is it always the cheapest! (stay with me here) It’s a buyer beware world out there. A low price always looks good, but is their quality up to par?
Or are they cheapest because they just care about getting the job done, not done right?
Be aware of hidden fees (i.e. change orders). Your GC should be very clear on what makes up a change order up front.
And they should stay transparent with you throughout the process on any potential change orders. Because if the contractor likes to give change orders you may run into trouble down the road, when the cost escalates to or above some competing bids!
You May Run into a Problem During the Construction Process
On large projects with many moving parts, you may run into issues. It’s how they are handled that counts.
Find comfort in knowing you did your due diligence and picked a good contractor. One that will keep the communication going and will work with you to handle anything you run into.
Go With Your Gut
Choosing the right general contractor in Hawaii can be a scary and overwhelming task, with so much of your money and time on the line.
So use the steps above to make your choice easier.
It’s important to go with your gut. Just ask yourself one question – Are you comfortable with the general contractor you are choosing?
You always want a competitive price, but don’t just jump at the cheapest cost…if something seems to be too good to be true, it often is. Keep an eye out for hidden costs.
And once you select your perfect general contractor – watch as your project comes together and your beautiful Hawaiian home is built!
Want to know more?