Building your own custom home is something that you may have dreamed of for a long time. Having everything built to your liking and knowing that your home will fit the needs of your daily lifestyle is something that not everyone can experience. However, to ensure that your home gets constructed on-time, on-budget, and to your liking, it pays to understand how to find a great general contractor.

One of the best tips we can give you when it comes to hiring a general contractor is to get recommendations from those you trust. You should ask family members, friends, co-workers, and even trusted neighbors if they’ve used a general contractor before. Start to collect a list of names of companies who people have good reviews from these individuals. If they had a great experience, it’s likely they’ll recommend who they used. If they had a horrible experience, it’s likely they’ll share with you to steer clear of that firm. Either way, you can get a list of trusted contractors to further assess. If there’s no one that you know who has used a general contractor in the past, you can check out some recommendations online.

You never want to meet up with any contractors that build custom homes in Maryland until you verify two key factors about their business. The first is that they have a license to operate in the state. A quick check at the Maryland Building Industry Association online website for contractors can reveal whether or not a specific individual or firm has a license to do work within your state’s borders. Go through your list and ensure each firm on it is licensed through your state. The second thing you want to check is that they have insurance. You should be able to see this on their website as most firms post about it. If you can’t find a listing on the website for any firms on your list, simply pick up the phone and call them. Verify they have insurance coverage. If you want to be extra careful during your search, you can even check with the BBB to see if any contractors on your list have any liens against them from suppliers, workers, or former clients.

Now, it’s time to talk with the remaining names on your list. Ask them to draw you up a bid on the project that you have. Be sure to understand what design you’re going for and the materials you want to use before contacting a general contractor. This will ensure that all the contractors are on an even playing field as far as giving you an estimate. You don’t want one contractor quoting you for mahogany garage doors while the other one is quoting you for steel ones. Try to get an apples-to-apples comparison for your all the builders in Maryland.

One of the best ways to get an idea of a general contractor’s quality is to assess their work. Take a look at their past projects and see if they fit your style. Take a look at some custom homes in Maryland that the contractor is currently in progress with. A quick visit to a construction site can reveal how well a contractor takes care of their customer service and their staff members. When you’re on the site do you see debris laying everywhere or is it fairly clean? Are there employees standing around chatting or are they all hard at work? A few subtle things will stick out to you when you visit an ongoing construction site that can reveal just how well a general contractor is at managing their staff and their projects.

When you deal with a great contractor, they have a template for how all their jobs go. From the contracts that are signed at the beginning to the final payment made on the project, they can explain everything in detail. If you are interviewing a general contractor who doesn’t have a clear cut process or who can’t explain all the steps of their process, then don’t hire them. You want to be working with someone who knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to share it with you. When they have confidence in their process, then you can have confidence that they’ll do the job correctly.

Hiring a great contractor requires more than just searching the internet. It requires a small time investment from you to ensure that you pick a contractor that will fit your needs and do your project right the first time. Realize that it pays to check into potential hires so that you can avoid horrible problems after your construction project gets underway.