A competent modular home general contractor requires a different set of skills than a competent modular dealer. The screening process for selecting a modular home general contractor needs to take this into account.
Even if you are using the same person for both jobs, look at his competence in each field separately. It is also important to look closely at your GC’s skills even if you have already selected him because he is a friend or family member; after all, you will want to know his strengths and weaknesses. If you are assuming the role of GC, shop for subcontractors using the same advice offered here.
When Selecting a Modular Home General Contractor, Complete the Following
- Identify the candidates
- Have the GC help you design the site-built structures, such as the garage and deck
- Have the GC help you determine the contracting tasks required to complete your home
- Have the GC help you select your preferred building specifications
- Obtain a detailed price estimate
- Assess each candidate’s craftsmanship, price, and customer service, including warranty
- Make the final selection
Begin the process of selecting a modular home general contractor as soon as possible. It can take many weeks or even months to identify candidates, verify credentials, and receive and review estimates. Obtaining a GC’s estimate almost always takes longer than obtaining a modular dealer’s estimate, since GCs need to solicit bids from each of their subcontractors, which will take time. After obtaining estimates from all of the candidates, negotiate and sign a contract with the one you select. This will allow the GC to schedule commitments from his subcontractors.
How to Identify Modular Home General Contractor Candidates
If you have not already picked out a modular home general contractor, the best way to identify candidates is from recommendations, especially from your modular dealer or people you know and trust. Other sources include your local chapter of the National Association of Home Builders and building inspectors. Don’t forget banks, realtors, and attorneys who serve the real-estate and construction industries. Lumberyard employees usually know which GCs have the best reputation, and subcontractors usually have an opinion about which GCs are the most competent. You can also talk with people who are currently building or have built recently. Since the information is a matter of public record, the building inspector may supply some names. The yellow pages and the Internet can also produce candidates. But with these blind leads you will need to spend more time checking credentials. Ideally, you should select at least three candidates.
Check out some of each candidate’s work. Try to visit homes that the GCs are currently building. If you do not like what you hear and see, move on to the next candidate. Use the checklist to guide your interview with each candidate.
The next step is to arrange a sit-down meeting with the candidate. The primary purpose of this meeting is to give the GC the information he needs to generate a written estimate documenting the scope, specifications, and price of the work.
For more information about selecting a modular home general contractor, see Selecting a General Contractor in my book The Modular Home.